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05 / 17

In first NPSL match, Lansing United and Indiana Fire draw 0-0

WRITTEN BY: Nick Barnowski
PUBLISHED ON: May 17, 2014

BOX SCORE

EAST LANSING – In front of a packed East Lansing Soccer Complex, Lansing United played to a scoreless draw against the Indiana Fire in the club’s inaugural NPSL match Friday night.

A total of 975 fans attended the game and cheered on the home team in a match that saw many scoring chances but no goals.

A red card in the 66th minute forced the team to play with only 10-men for the remaining 24 minutes, but head coach Eric Rudland said one point feels like three considering the circumstances.

“My message to the group is going to be that the point almost feels like a win when you go a man down,” Rudland said. “I thought those guys, the last 10 minutes, really pulled together and showed some resiliency. They withstood the pressure the Fire threw at them for those last few minutes.”

Goalkeeper Zach Bennett was named the Man of the Match as he made five saves – all in the second half – to keep Lansing United in the game when Indiana’s pressure mounted.

“[I’m] feeling pretty good,” Bennett, the Michigan State goalkeeper, said. “We would have liked to get those three points but it’s at least good to get out of there with a tie. I’m pleased with that.”

The atmosphere was electric for the club’s first-ever NPSL home match. Fans piled in when the gates opened an hour before the match, and each of the three seating structures were full by the time the match started.

Lansing United rewarded its fans with an entertaining first half that saw them control possession and come close to scoring multiple times.

Boyzzz Khumalo recorded the first shot in team history early on in the match. Later in the half, Julian Myers fired a shot from the box that was saved by Indiana goalkeeper Eric Dick. Shortly after, Brian Cunningham (who had a team high four shots) had his best chance of the night, but was denied by Dick.

“It was good,” Cunningham said of the match. “It had a good pace in the beginning and I thought we had a lot of good attacking choices and options. Defensively, we were sound.”

Team captain Matt Brown’s header was stopped minutes into the second half, but from there, Indiana went on the attack, firing 12 shots in the final 45 minutes of play.

The tone of the match changed when James DeCosemo, only seconds following his entrance to the game, was given a red card for a tackle in the 66th minute of the game. Despite playing down a man, the United defense stood tall and did not concede a goal.

“It’s the first 90-minute game I’ve played with that back line,” Bennett said. “Center backs played great, outside backs tracked, and after halftime I didn’t see as much action out wide as we did in the first half. We made the adjustments well and got the shutout.”

Rudland was pleased his team was able to create scoring chances when at 11 aside. United had 10 shots in the match.

“I think there’s some potential from the attacking standpoint,” he said. ‘You want to score a goal in your first home game but it just didn’t work out for us tonight.”

Lansing United will return to NPSL action on Sunday night against the Michigan Stars, and while one more day of training isn’t sure to bring the chemistry completely together, the players noted that getting in as many games and practices with each other can be the key to success.

“We’ve only been together for a couple of weeks and it’s hard to get out here on a consistent basis, but that’ll come,” Bennett said. “In the next couple of weeks we’ll get more practices and games in and it’ll get better.”