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07 / 11

United Set To Make Playoff Push In Final Weekend

WRITTEN BY: Jeremy Sampson
PUBLISHED ON: July 11, 2014

LanUFinal WeekendLansing United will play their final two games of the 2014 regular season this weekend as they look to make the playoffs in their inaugural season.

United will square off against the Indiana Fire at home on Friday before taking on Detroit City FC on Sunday at DeMartin Stadium on the campus of Michigan State University.

Entering the weekend, United sits atop the Great Lakes West Conference with 24 points, one ahead of second place DCFC and three clear of third place Indiana.

“We’re in a spot where we just need to take care of business,” head coach Eric Rudland said. “You get points, pick up results and get through. The guys should have a certain level of confidence in regards to where we’ve been and what we’ve come through.”

The winner of each of the Midwest Region’s three conferences qualify for the playoffs, as well as the top second place team amongst the three divisions. As it stands right now, United would qualify as the Great Lakes West Conference champion and DCFC would be the wild card team.

Rudland is confident in his team’s chances after putting in a solid week of training.

“We had 30 plus yesterday and 22 today so I think that’s great for the guys,” Rudland said of this week’s sessions. “It makes it a quality environment for them to come out and be a part of.”

The team has their sights set on Friday’s match against Indiana, a team that United has drawn with twice this season in eerily similar games. In both games, the home team was reduced to 10 men after a red card early in the second half and both held on for the draw.

“Tactically, we matchup really well with Indiana,” Rudland said. “Obviously it’s been a competitive game both times we’ve seen them, so we’ll expect a good game.”

From there, United will shift their focus to the DCFC game on Sunday, which could end up being a winner take all game. DCFC defeated United 1-0 earlier this season.

“With Detroit, I think the difference between their place and ours is just playing on a normal sized pitch,” Rudland said. “I think our flying on Sunday.”

United will have the last two NPSL Players of the Week on the pitch this weekend, in Matt Brown and Brian Cunningham, but Rudland thinks another player could be the difference maker.

“I think (Tyler Pasher) is set to have a big weekend,” Ruland said. “He’s a guy that has kind of flown under the radar from a statistical standpoint, but he’s obviously got a different dimension that will cause Indiana and Detroit a lot of problems. To be honest he only played 20 minutes against Indiana and he hasn’t played against Detroit yet.”

Friday’s game with the Indiana Fire is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Archer Stadium, while Sunday’s game has a noon kickoff time and will be at DeMartin Stadium at Michigan State University.