On a beautiful, cooler, and sunny evening, Akron City FC (ACFC) traveled to Erie, PA to take on the Erie Commodores FC (ECFC) for a Saturday match. With a brisk, northern wind bringing cooler temps on the pitch, ACFC and ECFC battled to a 1-1 draw.
The final whistle gave each team a point in NPSL Soccer’s (@NPSLSOCCER) Rustbelt conference. Akron sits a point above Erie in the standings with five games left in the summer season before the playoffs commence. Akron and Erie play two more times before the season ends.
— Akron City FC (@AkronCityFC) June 18, 2022
ACFC had a new face in the starting lineup: center midfielder and #10 Renato Kauzlaric. The Croatian born senior from the University of Akron was signed a few weeks back but had some commitments to uphold before he could join. The club is hopeful to get center defender Dan O’Callaghan back soon for the late playoff push.
The game saw physical play from the beginning with yellow and red cards beckoning from the kickoff! This game was important for both teams since they were fighting for position on the table. And the yelling from both sides as they were jawing at the referee for missed calls in the first six minutes exemplified.
In the 10th minute a through ball past the Akron defense finds ACFC defender Levi Stephens, the former Columbus Crew Academy player, UA defender, and Akron native, one-on-one with the Erie attacker but goalkeeper Cam Victor was there to help and send it out. Quickly heading back after stealing the throw-in, ACFC forward, Jaden Wright, goes up the left side of the pitch and breaks free. His centering pass into the box is deflected away by Erie goalie, Frederic Petrelli, on a stellar piece of goalkeeping. Akron had another attempt as another cross into the box was headed away.
(Photo by elevensports.com)
Both sides exchanged yellow cards early in the first half, but Erie enjoyed most of the possession and worked its way to the first goal of the game. Late in the 42nd minute, Erie (white tops and royal blue shorts) had the ball on the left side of the pitch and centered it to Ryan Beckinsale, who was alone in the box to Victor’s left to slot it easily home. Beckinsale came into the right side of the box unopposed as he gave the home side the 1-0 lead. ACFC asked for offsides to no avail. The half ended that way. But the accumulation of three yellow cards by ECFC and one by Akron gave one a feeling that things were just starting to heat up.
(Photo: Jaden Wright, from UA athletic)
The second half began with more possession by Erie but a bit more spirited play by ACFC. And then in the 52nd minute Akron leveled. Four quick passes had the ball in the middle of the field. A long ball was sent down the left side where Jaden Wright raced beyond the defenders. A quick touch by the UA forward and Petrelli, who tried to close space, was posterized as Wright’s shot flew past him and found the back of the net.
Akron down to 10 men!
But just as quickly as they tied it up, Akron found themselves a man down. The yellow cards came out quickly in six minutes against ACFC. And this time, captain Ryan Kolonick saw his day end. The first yellow was merited as he crashed into the ECFC player. But at the 65th minute Akron had a good push going. The ball released in front of the box where it seemed Kolonick kicked it to the right to his teammate. As it was, the ball, Ryan and the Erie defender all converged at the exact same time, and the call was Kolonick kicked the defender’s foot before contacting the ball. It really was a questionable call but when you are on a yellow card, most players know you have to be aware. So ACFC were down to ten men for the final 25 plus minutes. And Erie was ready to push ahead.
Parking the bus!
In soccer its known as “parking the bus.” The idea is to keep all your men close to goal to deny any open spaces or shots for the opposing team. It is often used when you have a lead or are down men and you want to keep the match at bay. Akron parked their defensive bus by staying compact for that entire time and with the exception of a few good chances, Akron was able to finish the game in a draw and salvage the point.
The squad has 3 home games left!
– Erie makes their 1st trip to Akron on 6/26 for Kid’s Day presented by Springside Athletic Club.
– 330 vs 216, the 2nd leg of the NEO Derby on Wednesday night, 6/29 – 25% off @hoppinfrog beer!
– Erie returns on 7/15 for Fan Appreciation Night! pic.twitter.com/HKCydUEDdV
— Akron City FC (@AkronCityFC) June 20, 2022
According to the NPSL rules, Ryan will miss the next game, which just happens to be this Sunday, June 26th at 3:30 PM EST at Green Street Stadium on the campus of Akron St Vincent/St Mary and against these same Erie Commodores! Get your tickets here. Should be a fun afternoon!
NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter
Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.