The Michigan Stars (MSFC) scored in stoppage time to defeat Lansing United 2-1 Friday night at Hurley Field in Berkley. Defender Alexander Ofeimu netted the game-winner, cementing the victory for MSFC in a match where both the offense and defense clicked.
The Stars lead 1-0 into the 90th minute when Lansing’s Samuel Conti tied the match on a left-footed volley that momentarily dimmed the home team’s mood. Minutes later and with everyone’s eyes on the clock, Star’s midfielder Gael Kisombe Samuna drove to the end line and pulled the ball back as to not surrender the goal kick. The ball popped out to Ofeimu and he finished the game with an exclamation point for the Stars.
“Somehow, we found a way to win today,” said Michigan Stars coach Morris Lupenec. “We’ve lead the league in ties and we weren’t content on tying this game. Alex took advantage of an opportunity and it’s sweet to get the win. We’ve put in a lot of hard work this year I have to credit the guys for sticking through.”
MSFC were aggressive from the get-go, tallying five quality shots from midfielder Brandon Katona, forward Naeem Charles and Ofeimu in the opening 20 minutes. The Stars struck first, scoring just one minute into the second half on a shot from midfielder Nicholas Badalamenti.
“We had a good first half and that’s something that we emphasized going in to today,” said Lupenec. “We’ve been giving up goals in the first 20 minutes of games, so we said let’s try to eliminate that and build on it. I’m proud of the guys today.”
The defensive play was equally as strong with first-half highlights coming from a Katona header off the goal line at 24:00, a point-blank save by goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia at 44:00 and an all-around defensive effort lead by Man of the Match Nyal Higgins.
“Nyal was steady in the back for us today and solid for us all year,” said Lupenec. “Not only is he a good player but more importantly he’s a good person too.”
The Stars (2-4-5) travel to Kalamazoo FC (3-5-2) on Sunday, face Indiana FC (1-9-1) at home July 14 and finish the season with current league-leaders AFC Ann Arbor (9-1-1) on July 17.