Grand Rapids FC suffered its first loss at home in nearly two seasons on Saturday evening, falling to Lansing United 4-2 despite a second half brace from Jalen Rodriguez.
A fortunate bounce allowed for Lansing’s opening goal in the 25th minute. A GRFC midfielder was dispossessed near midfield, and the ball that was poked away by a Lansing defender ended up at the feet of another visiting player all alone above the box. The defense attempted to converge but was a step too late as James DeCosemo completed the one-on-one opportunity and put Lansing up 1-0.
In the 38th minute, Rafa Mentzingen added to the tally to put the visitors up a pair heading into halftime.
Out of the break, Grand Rapids cut the deficit to one in the 51st minute. Anthony Bowie swung a ball into the top of the box that was poorly cleared by the Lansing defense. Winning the next ball was Jeo Pantoja, who tipped the ball forward to Jalen Rodriguez who used a quick cut to sidestep a defender and slip the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
Unfortunately for the Boys in Blue, Lansing continued to make the most of its chances as tallies in the 62nd minute and 72nd minute for the visitors saw them take a 4-1 lead.
Still not out of the contest, Rodriguez added his second of the night in the 76th minute to again cut into the deficit.
In the 80th minute, six inches proved to be the difference in momentum in the match as GRFC was continuing to press. A shot from distance off the foot of Greg Timmer rattled the crossbar and bounced away from danger. From then out, Lansing took control defensively to close out the 4-2 win.
“You have to give credit to Lansing, they were well organized, better prepared, more concentrated and they took their chances,” said head coach George Moni. “It’s fair to say they deserved it. As always we are aware of the situation and we go back on Monday and prepare for the next game. We don’t have a lot of time to look back and have remorse about it. The most important thing is keeping the players healthy and continue to be consistent defensively.”
Despite the loss, Moni had good things to say about the performance of Jalen Rodriguez.
“He’s a special player,” said Moni. “I’ve been fortunate to work with him for the last 2-3 years. I converted him from a left back into a center forward – he’s very promising, great kid, great attitude, great willingness to sacrifice and work for the team.”
The Boys in Blue now look forward to Saturday as play at Fifth Third Ballpark for a home match-up against Detroit City FC. Grand Rapids seeks revenge for a 3-1 defeat against DCFC just a few weeks ago.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.