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06 / 30

Brown Returns to Form and an Unfamiliar Backline Leads United to Victory

WRITTEN BY: Jeremy Sampson
PUBLISHED ON: June 30, 2014

With five games left in the inaugural season, United gained three points against FC Buffalo in a 2-1 victory at East Lansing Soccer Complex to remain content with the standings as the final days of the regular season quickly slip away.

Leading scorer Matt Brown returned to form placing two goals in the back of the net and scoring for the first time since June 1 against the Fort Pitt Regiment.

Brown’s two goals did not come until after a hot back-and-forth first half ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

“At halftime we talked about how to expose them, every team is going to have a weakness,” head coach Eric Rudland said. “We talked about how we could find the holes in their backline and really try to free up Matt and it worked out well in the second half, obviously, with him able to get two goals.”

Due to injuries and regular players unable to attend Sunday’s game, United assembled an unfamiliar roster, especially evident on the backline.

“I thought Julian Myers, the first full game that he’s played at outside back, played fantastic,” Rudland said. “Daegan DeBono unfortunately got injured and had to come off, but Marco (Bernardini) stepped in and did well. Lee (Rumbold) and Austin (Dunn) kind of held down the fort at center back and I thought Lee played extremely well today.”

Goalkeeper Zach Bennett started his 10th game for United and directed his 10th different starting backline.

“It was another different back four. It’s just how Lansing’s done it this whole year. Just like Lansing’s done it all year, we’ve done well with it,” Bennett said. “I think that’s credit to Eric and credit to Austin because he’s been back there pretty much the whole time. I think it’s a credit to our communication as a whole defensive unit. I think that’s what really helped us this whole year with makeshift backlines.”

With Brown’s return to goal-scoring form and the makeshift backline holding a shutout, United entered the final minutes of the match with no worries until a late red card and a final minute goal changed the feeling of the game.

“Where my angle was, I could not see well,” Rudland said. “Apparently, the goalkeeper had made a play on the ball and had it secured and Matt still went in to get a touch which the referee thought was out of order and worthy of a caution. It’s unfortunate we won’t have him for the next game and at the end of the day, we got to move on.”

After receiving a yellow card in the 79th minute, Brown was shown another for the play he made on the goalkeeper in the 89th minute.

“I never touched him,” Brown said. “I went to the referee to show me the mark on (the goalkeeper’s) leg, and there was no mark there. Showed him my shin and I had a big scar down my shin.”

As Brown was sent off the pitch in the final minutes, FC Buffalo took little time to take advantage of their man advantage. Buffalo spoiled the shutout for United and brought the score to 2-1 in the 93rd minute.

“I don’t think we cleared the ball quite well enough and it fell to (Kristian Lee-Him) and he made a nice cut and he had a little bit of tunnel to bang it through and credit to him, he banged it through close to bar-down,” Bennett said.

With Sunday’s victory, United gained three points in the standings, but after Detroit City’s 4-0 victory over the Indiana Fire Sunday night, Lansing still remains in third place, a point behind Detroit in the Great Lakes West.

United will next welcome the Cincinnati Saints to East Lansing Soccer Complex for their next match on July 4 at 7 p.m.

“There’s a hundred different things that could play out, but at the end of the day you want to control your own destiny,” Rudland said.