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06 / 09

Weekend Preview: Lansing travels down I-96 to take on Grand Rapids

WRITTEN BY: Nick Barnowski
PUBLISHED ON: June 09, 2017

Lansing United’s first in-state road trip of 2017 comes Saturday, June 10 as the club will take on Grand Rapids FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Grand Rapids’ Houseman Field.

United (5-1-0) is coming off a three-point weekend which saw them concede their first goals of the season in a loss to Milwaukee but rebound to put five in the net in a win over the Michigan Stars. To continue building off the win last Sunday, club captain James DeCosemo said it’ll be crucial to get off to a good start on the Grand Rapids (2-2-1) turf.

“It’s very big that we do that,” said DeCosemo, who scored on a penalty kick against the Stars. “On turf it’s always going to be a quicker game, so we’ve got to make sure we come out quick also.”

United practiced on Lansing Catholic’s turf field all week to prepare for Saturday’s environment, something DeCosemo said will only benefit the team. Training this week focused on recovering from the four matches Lansing played in last week with an emphasis on Saturday’s tactics over the past couple of sessions.

The team has showcased its offensive prowess through the first six matches of the NPSL season and heads to Grand Rapids after scoring seven goals in two games last weekend. The club’s 17 goals are already more than they scored in the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons, where they scored 16 in each. It has scored seven more goals at this point in the NPSL season than the 2014 Midwest Region championship team did, which was the highest scoring team in United history with 32 goals.

Rafa Mentzingen and Tumi Moshobane continued their torrid pace last weekend and aim to keep it rolling on the west side of the state. Mentzingen scored in both matches and now leads the entire Midwest Region in goals with seven while Moshobane has contributed with three goals and two assists.

The key to maintaining the club’s offensive momentum starts with the defense, though, according to DeCosemo.

“We’ve defended well so far, so we’ve got to make sure we continue to express ourselves going forward,” he said. “When you’ve got players like Rafa and Tumi, who can do what they do, you let them do it. We were disappointed to concede, obviously, but I think we reacted to it well on Sunday. We’ve got to be better defensively this weekend against this Grand Rapids team.”

DeCosemo also said Saturday’s match will be a bit more important than normal since Grand Rapids is not only an in-state opponent but features players who are quite familiar with United faithful. Greg Timmer and Gabe Mateo are both on Grand Rapids’ dress list for Saturday and both are players who were important factors in United’s 2014 regional title. Timmer appeared in 12 matches as a vital holding midfielder while Mateo scored three goals in 13 matches, including the game-winner in the Midwest Region title game against Fort Pitt.

It’ll take more than familiarity, though, for United to emerge with their first league win over Grand Rapids. United staffers will be on-site for the match, so supporters who are unable to make the trip down I-96 can follow the match on the club’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.