James DeCosemo’s goal in the ninth minute got things started Friday night.
The Lansing United defense did the rest.
The Englishman scored his fourth goal of the season – and third in four matches – and United (2-3-4) held on the rest of the way for a 1-0 victory over Kalamazoo FC at the East Lansing Soccer Complex.
“We’re pleased with the result and there’s a lot to improve on,” Lansing head coach Nate Miller said. “This was our best week of training all year and I think it showed in the first half.”
While United was outshot 20-8 by Kalamazoo (3-2-5), only one of the visitors’ shots were on target, which goalkeeper Jimmy Hague easily stopped.
Lansing scored only its second first half goal of the season early when DeCosemo received a perfect pass from Brad Centala in the box. The three-year United player collected the ball and chipped the ball over KFC keeper Elijah Michaels as he was sliding to grab it. The goal kept DeCosemo on his hot streak and gave Centala his first assist of the season.
“That’s what we work on in training, just get in behind (the defender),” DeCosemo said. “Brad played in a great ball and I got the finish at the end.”
The match got chippy in the 65th minute when three red cards were issued after a Brad Centala foul at midfield. Centala received a yellow for his tackle while Kalamazoo’s Amadou Cisse was shown straight red. DeCosemo and KFC’s Seon Thomas were then shown red cards for their role in the ensuing mix-up.
Despite being down two men, Kalamazoo kept its foot on the offensive pedal while United registered a couple of prime scoring chances.
“I thought today was a great effort all-around,” said LAFCU Man of the Match Austin Dunn. “Defensively especially, we’ve been working on a certain pressing pattern and I think we finally got ahold of it today and I think it’s something to move forward with.”
Miller praised his back four as well as his forward players for establishing the high level of defensive effort early on.
“Our back four was great but it really starts with our defending from the front,” Miller said. “I thought Alec (Greene) and James (DeCosemo) were great defending from the front. We’re a solid defensive team and it was a good defensive effort.”
With three NPSL matches to go, United now has ten points and is five behind a Great Lakes West playoff spot.
“It was a critical win for sure,” Dunn said. “We’ll see how the other teams do this weekend and move forward from that.”