Pato Botello Faz’s brace led Lansing Ignite FC to a 4-1 victory over North Texas SC and the top spot in the League One standings Thursday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
Pato opened the scoring in the 8th minute, capitalizing on a North Texas mistake at the back. Rather than putting a foot on Nick Moon’s through ball, Alfusainey Jatta let it run across his body, attempting to leave it for goalkeeper Carlos Avilez, unaware of Pato sneaking in behind him. Pato pounced on the loose ball and slipped a shot past Avilez to give the hosts an early lead.
Elma N’For doubled the Ignite’s lead just after halftime finishing off a swift counterattack with a low strike to the bottom corner. The goal was N’For’s fourth of the season.
Pato and Moon connected again in the 69th minute after Moon found space on the right flank to deliver a cross. Moon’s serve fell to Pato making a near post run and the Brazilian striker made no mistake, punching the first-time finish past Avilez for his second goal of the match and fifth of the season.
Despite the three-goal advantage, Lansing continued its high press and it proved productive yet again in the 71st minute as Rafael Mentzingen forced Jose Kevin Bonilla into a turnover in the Ignite’s final third. Mentzingen picked up the loose ball and drove towards the near post before squaring a pass for Tumi Moshobane who finished into the open net for his team-high sixth goal of the season.
Oscar Romero scored a consolation goal for North Texas from the penalty spot in the 86th minute. Romero confidently struck the ball to his right, beating goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland for his first goal of the season.
With the win, Lansing overtakes North Texas and moves into first place in League One. Winners of four straight, the Ignite are unbeaten in nine matches. Lansing has four matches remaining, compared to North Texas’ seven, so Head Coach Nate Miller’s side will need to continue its winning run to remain in the top spot. They’ll hit the road to take on FC Tucson on September 6 following a bye in Week 23.
Despite its recent dip in form, North Texas is still set up well to reclaim its place at the top of the standings with the three matches in hand on Lansing. However, Head Coach Eric Quill will need to turn things around quickly if his side is going to keep pace with the streaking Ignite. NTSC has won just once in its previous six matches and has two games against South Georgia Tormenta FC on the horizon, the first of which comes early next week.