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05 / 23

Kick This Around: A Lansing United Blog

WRITTEN BY: Jeremy Sampson
PUBLISHED ON: May 23, 2014

“Every search for a hero must begin with something that every hero requires – a villain.” – Mission: Impossible II

It’s true in the movies, and it’s true in sports.

For Lansing United, that villain has existed for two previous seasons.  Their name is Detroit City F.C.

Now, in the owners meetings, DCFC has been nothing but supportive of United as we begin our fledgling season.  The City organization is one of the bulwarks of the NPSL, and their backing is a not insignificant reason Lansing got their team.  Both clubs know they can be more successful as a whole when the league has strong members, so the health of every organization is a key to success.  And what’s more, these teams have never stepped on the same field for anything but a reserve match.

But that changes tonight.

DCFC was the top ranked team in all of the NPSL in 2013, losing just one playoff match after an unbeaten regular season.  They draw some of the largest crowds in the league, and have a rabid supporter group in The Northern Guard.  But they too have lacked a foil in their story.  The Rust Belt Derby with teams like Erie and Buffalo never really captured the true feeling of any rivalries.  So the hero-villain quote applies to them in reverse as well.

On Friday night at Cass Tech High School in downtown Detroit, a record crowd will be filing in to the stands.  Presale for the first ever match between the two clubs has been unprecedented and the Twittersphere has been spirited to say the least in the buildup.  The compact field will have fans right on top of the action, and it promises to be an electric atmosphere.  It’s a dream come true for the league.

Can you call it a rivalry yet?  Science tells you that you can’t be allergic to something the first time you’re exposed to it – allergies are a learned response of your body to something it has encountered before.  Rivalries can take decades to develop, unless there is a flash point that both sides identify as the start.  A few funny tweets are not the flag of battle to lead the charge to the line.

But when the Dean Trailways bus pulls up to the field on Grand River Avenue late on Friday afternoon, the Lansing United players will feel a little something different.

And when the supporters make their march over from their pregame watering hole, they will know this is the start of something that could last a long time.  It’s a feeling that you don’t often get a chance to plan ahead for, that rare occurrence when you know these moments will live on in history.

Welcome to the first chapter.  The rivalry begins tonight.

Story written by Dave Ellis, posted by Jonathan Yales