Photo courtesy of Andrew Herner/LIFC
LANSING, Mich. – Lansing Ignite FC secured a historic victory at Lansing Catholic High School on Wednesday evening, topping AFC Ann Arbor 2-1 to advance to the Second Round of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Elma Nfor scored two goals to lead Ignite FC to the next round, where the team will meet the USL Championship's Indy Eleven at 7 p.m. ET from the Sellick Bowl on May 15.
"This is my first Open Cup match," Nfor said following full time. "I don't even know what to say. I'm ecstatic right now."
LIFC gained possession early in the first half, keeping AFC Ann Arbor shy of midfield for a majority of the half. Finally, LIFC broke through, as Rafa Mentzingen assisted Nfor in the 29th minute.
"Coach told me to make a lot of runs in behind," Nfor said, "because I have a lot of speed, and he thought I could catch the back line off."
Ignite FC was off to a strong start in the second half, but after a strong block by Kyle Ihn, Alex Alexis gathered the rebound before scoring Ann Arbor’s first and only goal in the 67th minute.
The tie didn't last long, though.
Nfor netted, again, in the 72nd minute, rising high to head in the ball after a great cross into the box by Lewis Jones.
"You do what you need to do to advance," LIFC Head Coach Nate Miller said after the match. "Ann Arbor is a good team. They're very organized defensively. We could have been sharper on goal, but overall, you just need the result today and move on."
The win brings LIFC to a 4-3-1 overall record this campaign, with wins against the Richmond Kickers (2), Michigan State and AFC Ann Arbor. LIFC continues its homestand with a match against Greenville Triumph on Saturday, May 11, at 7 p.m. ET from Cooley Law School Stadium.
ELMA NFOR: The forward scored both goals for LIFC on the night and was a menace up top all game long.