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05 / 01

After first week of training, United looks ahead to AFC Ann Arbor

WRITTEN BY: Nick Barnowski
PUBLISHED ON: May 01, 2015

Under sunny skies, Lansing United wrapped up its first week of training Friday afternoon at the East Lansing Soccer Complex.

With the club’s second preseason friendly just over 24 hours away, head coach/GM Eric Rudland said the best part of the week has been establishing consistency among those at practice.

“The week has been pretty good,” Rudland said. “Guys have been coming in and want to be a part of what we’re trying to do.”

United takes on first-year club AFC Ann Arbor Saturday night at home, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. AFC Ann Arbor is a member of the Great Lakes Premier League, which sits below the NPSL on the U.S. soccer pyramid.

Working with the players who were available to train this week, Rudland and his staff put an emphasis on defense.

“All week we’ve been focusing on what we want to do with our defensive schemes,” Rudland said. “It’s been a little difficult because we’re still missing a few key guys on the back line and at goalkeeper as well.”

The club plans to fill those spots on Saturday with players who have not yet had the chance to train.

“We went over a lot of tactical things, mainly the organization of our defense,” second-year United player Andrew Hill said. “Hopefully that translates over to the game on Saturday so we have a solid performance to build off of.”

Rudland has also spent the week preparing to take on AFC Ann Arbor, which plays its first match Friday night against San Marino.

“Personnel wise, I think we have a good grasp on what they’re going to bring to the table,” Rudland said.

The focus on Saturday’s match will be on continuing to acclimate new players to the United family. Rudland said United’s first friendly against Northwood featured about three players who could dress in the club’s May 13 U.S. Open Cup match. He said he expects seven or eight guys who could play in the Open Cup to play Saturday night against Ann Arbor.

“It’s really about the new guys getting comfortable playing at home,” Rudland said. “Last year, I thought we did an amazing job at taking pride in playing in front of our home crowd and making the ELSC a fortress.

“I think we start that process again tomorrow.”