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07 / 12

United Beat Fire 2-1; Conference Champion to be Crowned Sunday

WRITTEN BY: Jeremy Sampson
PUBLISHED ON: July 12, 2014

BOX SCORE

EAST LANSING — Lansing United has made it clear that they have come to play in their inaugural NPSL season, and the greater Lansing community has shown up to watch.

1,166 people attended Friday night’s match at the East Lansing Soccer Complex and witnessed United capture another three points in a crucial 2-1 victory over the Indiana Fire.

Indiana struck first in the 7th minute when Akron University midfielder Thomas Schmitt put home a free kick from the left-side. The shot came from just outside the box and was deflected off the United wall past the diving goalkeeper.

The lead, however, did not hold long.

United defender Cody Archibald headed in a ball off a corner kick from forward Tyler Pasher in the 34th minute. That goal was Archibald’s first of the season, and it was also the first goal scored by a United defender in 13 games so far this season.

Pasher was right back at it a few minutes later, capitalizing on a long through ball from midfielder Andrew Hill in the 37th minute. The assist was Hill’s second of the season.

“It was perfect,” said Pasher after the game, referring to the ball from Hill. “He just put it in and let me do the rest. He’s been a great player, and he can really get me those through balls I need.”

Pasher was named the Dean Trailways Man of the Match, and now has two goals and four assists in nine games this season.

Things got chippy in the second half when United midfielder James DeCosemo was sent off with a red card just three minutes after entering the game as a substitute at halftime. Fire forward Joey Bastian emerged with a bloody gash on his head and was subbed out immediately. The rough play forced United to play with 10 men for the remainder of the match.

Goalkeeper Zach Bennett had to come up big several times while playing a man down in his return to play with United after missing the previous two matches. He tallied seven saves in the win, giving him 36 total in 11 games this season.

“It was a really clinical performance by him,” said head coach Eric Rudland of his goalkeeper after the match. “His athleticism and his reach-span [are] just fantastic, so he was able to get up in the air and really clear some danger.”

United is now 8-3-2 with 27 points and four consecutive victories headed into the final match of the regular season on Sunday against Detroit City FC at DeMartin Stadium in East Lansing. DCFC is now 8-2-3 with 26 points after defeating Fort Pitt 3-1 on Friday night in Detroit. The winner of Sunday’s match will be crowned champion of the Great Lakes Western Conference and earn a spot in the NPSL Midwest Region Playoffs. A tie would also earn United the title.

“We still control our own destiny, and we’ll obviously show up on Sunday with the same mentality that we did tonight.”