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Akron and Erie end in a 2-2 draw with a Late Erie Equalizer

For 71 minutes, Akron City FC (ACFC) was protecting their 2-0 lead over the Erie Commodores. Even when Erie struck for their first goal in the 72nd minute, the feeling wasn’t panic from the men from Summit County. Three points were there for the taking!

But when extra time came, and the rain-soaked fans were trying to ask the clock to tick quicker…the tying goal came shortly off an odd challenge and a slowly struck ball in the box that somehow missed three ACFC defenders. Erie’s attacker Sean Rapal found the ball at his feet, and he shot it into the right side of the net in the 92nd minute for the equalizer.

The 2-2 final draw saw both teams earn a point, but Akron’s hard work for the entire game was crushed by the late goal. Akron stays in the fourth spot in the Rust Belt conference, while Erie is just below them. Akron has four games left in their season, and Erie has five.

(Current standings as of 6.28.22)

Lineup

The lineup for Akron saw striker Brent Nanchoff (Cleveland State) get his first look in the starting eleven for the club. Brent is just another in the long line of Nanchoffs in Cleveland/Akron soccer. Brother Mike (University of Akron) plays with the Portland Timbers of MLS, and his father, Louie, was a longtime soccer player with Akron, the NASL (North American Soccer League), MISL (Major Indoor Soccer League with the Cleveland Force), and the US Men’s National team! Brent’s dad and uncle own the little-known trivia answer of who were the first two brothers to win first team All-American honors in NCAA soccer in 1976!

Erie’s lineup saw three changes from their prior meeting against Akron with Faheen Khan in defense, Dylan Sumner in the midfield, and Alex Taylor as another striker for Ashley Phillips’ club.

Corners galore

As the game commenced, Erie was full throttle from the start. By the 20th minute, they were pressuring ACFC with six corners! You can attend games where both teams won’t see more than six the entire match! The fifth corner was the first intense moment of the match that saw Akron almost gift a goal to Erie! The ball was accidentally sent backwards by an ACFC defender and Erie’s Ryan Beckinsale jumped at the chance to score first with a shot that hit the post and bounced away from goal.

Erie’s pressure a minute later forced Akron to pass back to goalkeeper Cam Victor, but the pass was wild and strong, and all Victor could do was just touch it out for corner number six! On the subsequent corner, Erie did find the back of the net but was deemed offsides, so the 1-0 score was scrubbed from the board.

Akron’s Renato Kauzlaric, in his second start for the club, was finding some space in the midfield. Some of his passes were just a bit heavy or just off the mark, but others were perfectly weighted. And the space he was finding was encouraging. Running with him was Nanchoff. The two were making magnificent work of ball movement that led to the first Akron goal.

(Renato)

(Brent)

Akron goal!

Back-to-back fouls by Erie gave Akron a free kick. Taken quickly, Kauzlaric and Nanchoff showed their ability to impact a game. Kauzlaric made a nice feed to Nanchoff, who immediately sent his well weighted pass wide to an unguarded Levi Stephens. Running down the right side of the touch line, Levi had a great give and go with Kauzlaric. Stephens’ pass into the box found a streaking Sam George. As Sam was falling backwards, he slotted his shot home for the first Akron goal of the game!

 

The half ended as Akron took momentum with that goal, even though the Commodores had golden chances early in the half.

Second half and goal #2!

The second half wasn’t more than three minutes old and ACFC had another opportunity that they didn’t want to miss. Again, Levi takes off down the right side of the pitch. Kauzlaric, moving into space, receives a pass then crosses the ball into the box where George again is there to touch that perfect pass in the net. 2-0 Akron! Sam has his first brace for Akron!

(Samuel George)

 

The weather was getting a bit threatening as the rain increased, so in the 63rd minute, the referees stopped play. Akron had numerous chances to increase the lead to three or more prior to the stoppage! But they couldn’t break through. The best chance was a Jaden Wright shot alone in front of the Erie goalkeep, Petrelli, that flew just high and hit the football crossbar just above the goal.

Back to the game!

After the delay, in the 72nd minute Erie brought the score to 2-1. A nice build up from the back resulted in a great left-footed cross from Alex Taylor to his fellow teammate Sydney Warden. Warden calmly deposited the pass into the back of the goal.

 

Final moments!

Both clubs had opportunities, but Akron was just holding on to their lead. Akron received a free kick in stoppage time, but Erie was wasting time complaining to the referee. After the discussion, Erie stole the poor free kick, and they tried a through ball to the left side. Akron’s William Portman wins the ball and begins a rush forward. Ryan Liesur for the Commodores seems to clip Portman with his slide tackle. The referee paused for a moment like he would call something but let it go.

Taylor grabbed the ball and shot down the right side of the pitch into Erie’s attacking third of the field. His centering ball was a slow dribbler that no one from Cleveland was able to charge to clear. It looked like it was moving in slow motion. Sean Rapal, substituted into the game in the last ten minutes, was able to get the tying goal past the diving Victor.

(The winning goal…from the elevensports.com feed of the match.)

Why not start your Fourth of July holiday festivities by attending Akron’s next home game Wednesday, June 29th against first place Cleveland SC. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 PM at Green Street Stadium. Tickets are available at akroncityfc.com. Then, because of a quirky schedule and for all soccer fans enjoyment, these two Northeast Ohio teams will play again on Saturday, July 2nd, in Lakewood at 7 PM in First Federal Lakewood Stadium!

Erie has two matches this holiday weekend. First is Thursday, June 29th in an away match with Pittsburgh, and they follow that with a home match July 2nd versus FC Buffalo. Playoffs are just a few weeks away and each game now means everything.

 

 

I am a math teacher in SW Ohio. Born and raised in NE Ohio, I am married with four sons who keep the flame burning for all things Cleveland. I cover soccer, betting, football and anything that focuses on the human side of sports.

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