The Great Lakes West conference title and a spot in the National Premiere Soccer League Midwest Region playoffs was on the line Sunday afternoon at Michigan State University’s DeMartin Stadium between 1st place Lansing United and Detroit City FC.
DCFC was only 1 point behind in 2nd place. City needed a win to move into 1st and go on to playoffs, but United coach Eric Rudland’s team, led by captain Matt Brown, stood strong and did not allow this inaugural season’s chance for playoffs to slip past them.
Brown scored his 10th goal of the season in the 19th minute with a diving header from Cunningham’s cross. However, DCFC came back to tie it up after Zach Myers was taken down in the box by Austin Dunn for a penalty. Captain Josh Rogers took the PK and slotted it past a diving Bennett. The game went into halftime tied at 1-1.
The Lansing United fans who were a part of their record attendance of 2,014 -- which included a strong showing of DCFC fans and Northern Guard supports -- erupted in excitement when Gabe Mateo scored in the 65th minute to take the lead. The players raced to and jumped up to their supporters, knowing their chance for a conference title was within their grasp.
The DCFC equalizer came in the 94th minute by Locky “Lochness Monster” Savage, but the game ended after that goal and the tie meant Lansing United takes home the title and will move onto playoffs.
Lansing owner Jeremy Sampson, coach Eric Rudland, the Lansing United staff, players and supporters look forward to playoffs this upcoming weekend. However, since they did not put in initially to host, they await which location will host. Jeremy knew when he first got the team that Eric was who he wanted as his coach, and this season shows the decision was a winning one.
DCFC players, coach Ben Pirmann and staff, as well as the thousands of DCFC fans, were, of course, sad to see their season come to such a short ending. However, they hold their heads high with a great year and look forward to meeting "Little Brother" again next season.
Meanwhile, they know Lansing United will make the Great Lakes West conference and Michigan proud in their representation in the playoffs.
In true spirit and form, the DCFC players picked their heads up and joined the Northern Guard supporters in a chant and "Tetris" in the stands.
Fans will get one more chance to enjoy watching their DCFC team when they host a friendly game versus the Windsor Stars at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 23 at Cass Tech High School.
Tickets are $10 at the gate or at ww.brownpapertickets.com.