On Father’s Day, in front of the season’s largest crowd, Lansing United demolished the Minnesota United FC Reserves, 4-0.
Lansing United, coming off of back-to-back wins on Wednesday and Thursday, looked the more confident than they have all season, setting the tempo with an early goal and cruising away to victory.
“Some of our main guys have really picked up and we’ve got some consistency from game to game,” Lansing coach Eric Rudland said regarding his team’s three-game winning streak. “It’s been great to see those guys respond, become really cohesive and take their moments well.”
Just one minute into the game, Lansing surged forward and a through ball put Cholo Petit in on goal. However, Adam Acosta, the Minnesota keeper, was quick off his line, and Petit had to try his effort first time, which Acosta strained to block, sending the spinning ball rebounding in the opposite direction.
Lansing United was not dissuaded, however, and kept playing deep balls to their wingers. The next attack came off of a lofted through ball from James DeCosemo to the other wing, Steven Owusu.
Owusu controlled the ball and easily sprinted past Rodrigo Yanez, who was covering for his left back. Yenez tried to surreptitiously slow Owusu with a tugging hand on the shoulder, but pulled him down inside the box, and the referee signaled toward the penalty spot.
“Our coach told us last night, ‘Wingers you have to play really wide and fast so you can get behind their players so you can whip some crosses in or get a goal.’ So, I took the opportunity, and I thought they couldn’t catch up with me, so I took the opportunity,” Owusu said.
Matt Brown, Lansing’s captain and experienced striker, commanded the penalty, and coolly hit a rolling shot into the center of the goal, deceiving Acosta, who had committed left. The third-minute goal tied a Lansing United record for the fastest goal in team history.
Ten minutes later, DeCosemo delivered another delectable ball, this time a cross from the right side. The ball just skipped over the head of Brown, but Owusu was there to chest it into the bottom right corner for a two-goal advantage just 13 minutes in.
Lansing United controlled the game, both defensively and offensively, and Minnesota did not get their first shot on goal until 43 minutes in. Unable to maintain possession, Minnesota relinquished the ball in the midfield, and DeCosemo was soon after sprung free by a slicing through ball into the heart of the defense.
DeCosemo saw the keeper coming out to contest, and slipped the ball into the bottom-right corner with the outside of his right boot, expanding Lansing’s lead a resounding 3-0.
“I’ve played a couple of runs forward and they haven’t found me, but this time Charlie (Constantino) has played an absolute dime all the way through the middle. I’ve seen the keeper coming so I’ve just slotted it past him,” DeCosemo said. “It’s looked really nice but I haven’t done anything special. I just passed it (into goal).”
The early second half was a replica of the first, with Lansing United delivering another goal, courtesy of Brown.
Brown picked up the ball from 22 yards out, drove at the defense, and lifted the ball over one sliding defender before launching a shot towards goal. Acosta was able to get a hand to the shot, but not a significant enough touch to divert the ball wide.
“It’s always been the same for me. When you start scoring usually you’ll get on a good run,” Brown said after the game. “Hopefully I can carry that on to the end of the season.”
Lansing continued to dominate the rest of the game, with the hostility mounting as the chances for both teams became less frequent. After several skirmishes, the referee was forced to break three encounters up before the game regained its tameness.
The score finished 4-0, in favor of Lansing United. Brown’s brace meant that in his last three games, he has netted three goals. Meanwhile, the win was goalie Wes Mink’s second time holding opponents scoreless on the season, although he only had to make two simple saves en route to this shutout.
Lansing United surfaced first in the Midwest region after the rout and the players now set their sights on Sunday’s rivalry and derby at Detroit City FC.
“We just got to keep (first place), and put another three or four past them boys,” DeCosomo said, looking ahead to the weekend’s match.
Photo: Lansing United/Hoffman Photography