James DeCosemo picked quite a way to score his first goal of the 2017 season.
The captain’s free kick strike in the 87th minute was the difference Tuesday night as United took down FC Indiana, 1-0, in Lafayette.
After coming on as a sub in the 58th minute, DeCosemo hovered over the ball from the left side of the box after Carson Brinks earned a foul. Looking to either get a tip on it or put it far side, the Englishman celebrated with his teammates near the bench after the ball went untouched and past the Indiana keeper’s left.
“It was one of those where I wanted to put it in the right area,” said DeCosemo, who tallied his eighth career United goal. “I was trying to aim for the back post. In these kind of games, it could be one where we slip up. But we came down here and focused throughout the game.”
It was the end product of a complete team effort on the road. Playing on a tiny pitch with long grass (and on short notice after the match was rescheduled), United dug in defensively when they needed to and attempted 16 shots on goal before DeCosemo’s strike.
United head coach Nate Miller was pleased with his team’s effort on the road against a much-improved FC Indiana side.
“I thought the emotion from the guys was really positive,” Miller said. “In a clutch situation when the pressure was on we came through.
Lansing keeper Joe White had to stay alert but was tested only a couple of times as he and the back line picked up their fourth consecutive league shutout. White extended his club-record shutout streak to 360 minutes and is now tied for first all-time in NPSL shutouts with four.
“The group in front of me is unbelievable,” White said. “Defensively we are very, very good and it gives me confidence. It’s a great feeling.”
After a four-hour trek to Indiana, it took some time for United to find their stride early on. It took until the 12th minute for the first shot of the match, but after that, United’s ability in the final third was put on display despite the scoreless first half.
Hermann Bjornsson had a couple of free kick attempts that were either blocked or just missed while Hunter Barone had perhaps the best chance of the first 45 minutes, forcing the Indiana keeper to make a great save from close range in the 34th minute. White made his first and only save of the evening in the 40th minute, but luck was on United’s side just moments after as a dipping 35-yard strike from an Indiana player hit the crossbar.
Michael Caccavo, playing in his first United match of 2017, was a force all night but had his best scoring chance in the 64th minute, putting a rocket of a shot on net that forced the keeper to make a diving stop. A flurry of scoring chances came for United near the 75th minute, including a Morris Kamara goal that was disallowed due to offside, but they couldn’t break through until DeCosemo’s effort.
United takes on South Bend FC in a home friendly Wednesday night at 8 pm before resuming NPSL play this weekend. The club will host the Milwaukee Torrent on Friday night (7 pm) and the Michigan Stars on Sunday afternoon (2 pm).
“I think that we have players who are ready for pressure,” Miller said. “It was important for us to get three points. We’re excited and ready to go with a team that is really confident.”