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05 / 28

Kick This Around – A Lansing United Blog

WRITTEN BY: Dave Ellis
PUBLISHED ON: May 28, 2015

Derby Day.

It’s pronounced “darby”, and it’s the term for a when two local teams meet on the field. There are some legendary ones across the world – Inter Milan vs. AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke 04, Liverpool vs. Everton, Arsenal vs. Tottenham.

In the NPSL in the Great Lakes State, it’s Lansing United vs. Detroit City FC.

In the very first edition of this blog last season, we pointed out the medical fact that an allergy cannot occur the first time you are exposed to something – it’s a learned response to something your body has encountered before. Rivalries and derby matches work the same way.

Most derby matches have deep seeded roots dating back a hundred years or more. For the Hoops, this will only be the third time they square off against Le Rouge. A fledgling rivalry to be sure, but no less intense. The first two meetings each stung for one side – Detroit’s 1-0 win in May of 2014 was the first ever loss for Lansing, while the 2-2 draw at DeMartin Stadium in July ended City’s chance to play in the postseason. Those would be grounds enough to make Sunday a match to anticipate.

But there are more subplots to consider.

The first meeting had a fuse threatening to make it all the way to the powder keg, with a number of flash points. Detroit’s first half penalty award was hotly disputed by Lansing, as was the sending off of Ben Lamb in a second half fracas. The second match may have ended with the overall elation advancing into the playoffs, but the late equalizer meant that Detroit fans could still boast that they have yet to lose to their rivals from up Interstate 96.  That draw also means DCFC coach Ben Pirmann still has yet to win a match on the ground where he spends the fall in his primary job as an assistant coach for Michigan State.

And yes it’s early, but first place in the NPSL Midwest standings is in play as well.

The handful of members of the Sons of Ransom who attended the first match in Detroit saw first hand what their rivals from the Northern Guard could bring to a match in numbers and voice. By the second meeting SOR had bolstered their base enough to compete in the stands as well. And full credit to the guests from Detroit, who cleaned up their own area of the stadium on their own accord to help set a great example. They’ll meet up in the pre-match to have a bite and a drink, and then make their way to the field where they put aside any camaraderie for 90 minutes. The respect between the two groups away from the match would be almost unheard of in Europe.

With the ambition of Detroit to move up to a higher league in the US system, there’s a chance that this could be the last visit of DCFC to Lansing as a regular season opponent. It’s just one more thing to add to the spice of what should be an enjoyable afternoon on the MSU campus on Sunday.

Derby Day.

Enjoy it.