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05 / 26

Weekend Preview: Conference’s top two teams to meet in Lansing tonight

WRITTEN BY: Nick Barnowski
PUBLISHED ON: May 26, 2017

Friday night’s match at the East Lansing Soccer Complex might be one of the most important ones of the season for Lansing United.

The club will host AFC Ann Arbor at 7 p.m. in a matchup of the top two teams in the Great Lakes Conference table.

Both Lansing (2-0-0) and Ann Arbor (4-0-0) have won each game they’ve played in to start the NPSL season, but in such a hotly contested conference, every point matters.

United enters the match with their offense on a hot streak. The club has seven goals in its first two league matches with five different players finding the back of the net. Standout Rafa Mentzingen has three goals and an assist to start the season while Tumi Moshobane, Pedro Patino, Kebba Nyang and Hermann Bjornsson have all provided a spark in the final third.

That list could also include last year’s top goal scorer James DeCosemo, who missed the first match of the season at Milwaukee but tallied five shots against FC Indiana. Additionally, Lansing bolstered its offensive attack this past week with the signing of Michigan State star Hunter Barone.

Defensively, Lansing is the only team in the Great Lakes not to allow a goal and keeper Joe White has made eight saves in two shutout performances. In further player signing news, the club added center back Michael Gonzalo – an NAIA first team All-American at Northwestern Ohio – as well as last year’s team Defensive Player of the Year Michael Caccavo, an effective force as a defender or holding midfielder.

Shutting down the Ann Arbor attack will be a tough task, though, as the Mighty Oak have scored nine goals in four NPSL matches. Led by Dario Suarez, the only player with more goals than United’s Mentzingen, Ann Arbor boasts a dynamic offense that will force Lansing’s back four and midfielder Brad Centala to stay on high alert even more than usual.

Tickets are still available for tonight’s match online or at the East Lansing Soccer Complex gate. The match will also be streamed live on United’s YouTube page with Lansing’s own Dave Ellis providing play-by-play.