During the last two weeks of practice, Lansing United head coach Nate Miller emphasized how important it was to get off to a hot start in league play.
Newcomers Tumi Moshobane and Rafa Mentzingen each scored their first NPSL goals for United while keeper Joe White recorded four saves to help Lansing take all three points on the road in a 2-0 win against the Milwaukee Torrent.
“We were really good in transition, which is something we talked about,” Miller said. “We did some things as a team we talked about wanting to do. Our attacking four players moved very well and we got in behind them.”
Goals less than two minutes apart from Moshobane and Mentzingen in the first half gave United the lead and the defense took it from there, thwarting all of Milwaukee’s scoring attempts.
It didn’t take long for United to get engaged offensively. Just three minutes in, Moshobane – in the first of his many scoring opportunities – was brought down in the Milwaukee box and earned a penalty. While he missed the attempt, he made up for it in the 29th minute.
Mentzingen found the ball at his feet as he was racing down the left wing and cut inside where he found a wide open Moshobane. The South African made no mistake this time, putting his shot into the back of the net to give his team a 1-0 advantage.
“It was a counterattack and Tumi played me in behind,” said Mentzingen, a native of Rio de Janiero, Brazil. “I was able to drive the ball and take the defender away and assist on it.”
Shortly after, second-year United forward Stevenson Storm found space in the box and shuffled the ball off to Mentzingen, who calmly placed the ball past the keeper and doubled the lead.
“It feels great,” Mentzingen said of his first league goal with United. “Stevo (Storm) had a great assist and I just finished it.”
In the second half, Lansing dug in defensively and consistently denied the Torrent scoring opportunities. Miller singled out White – the sixth keeper in club history to record a shutout in his debut – and acting captain Brad Centala for their defensive prowess.
“I thought Joe was great. His leadership in the back was very important,” Miller said. “I thought Brad Centala had a captain’s performance, he got us organized.”
The win improved United to 2-0-2 all-time in NPSL openers, but more importantly helped get the team on the right track early on in the season.
“I’m really pleased with the team’s performance,” Mentzingen said. “It was a good fight and a good match. It’s always good to bring three points back, especially in an away game.”