Akron City FC
Playing in the NPSL for their inaugural season, Akron City FC (AKFC) (Follow them on Twitter at @AkronCityFC) won their first ever match Saturday evening over Pittsburgh Hotspurs (PH), 2-1. Head coach Kia Zolgharnain, long time Canton Invader and youth soccer coach, had his team ready for their first opponent.
Saturday evening saw the match delayed over one hour as thunderstorms ran through the Rubber City. But rainbows were seen behind the stadium on the campus of Akron St Vincent St Mary HS at kickoff.
University of Akron alum, Jaden Wright, scored the first Akron FC goal in the 7th minute. Becoming the trivia answer to who scored the first ever goal for AKFC. Hotspurs forward Bryan Akongo, playing collegiately with Robert Morris, was threatening a great deal of the first 30 minutes with his speed. And in the 30th minute, his effort led to his first goal of the regular season to tie up the match.
Four minutes later, Wright again found the back of the net pushing the lead 2-1. But in the 40th minute a red card to Hotspurs goalie Keaton Jennings put PH down a man for the rest of the match.
The crowd of 1,057 saw a strong start to the second half by the visitors, even being a man down. But scoring chances aside, the visitors just couldn’t solve AFC’s back five. Cam Victor, ACFC goalie and UA product himself, had to make save after save to keep the score at 2-1. The official save count was thirteen.
When the final whistle blew, Akron won the spirited match, 2-1. ACFC owner, Nick Turchan, had this to say after the win:
“What a game. The boys played great…Shoutout to [our] fans…making noise, supporting the guys.”
The goal for Akron has been to pick local players and build from that talent pool. So far, the process looks to be a solid decision.
Yesterday evening, AFC lost to FC Buffalo 1-0 on an early goal in the 15’.
Akron’s next games are in Buffalo again on the 27th, then a home game against Cleveland SC, Sunday May 29th.
Vinnie Bell had a hat trick as Cleveland SC opened their 2022 campaign with a win over FC Buffalo, 4-2. Recently named coach, Vlad Muresan, earned his first win. His club looked sharp the first 45 minutes. Amir Suljevic had the first goal off a penalty kick for a foul in the box in the 29th minute. Near the end of the half, Vinnie Bell scored the first of his three goals on the night with a beautiful header to the left post as he jumped in front of a Buffalo defender. Credit the assist to Hryszko. A nice move to get some space and he placed the pass perfectly for Bell to head home. That put the good guys up 2-0.
— Cleveland SC (@SoccerCLE) May 16, 2022
The second half started poorly for CSC with poor passes and giving the ball away in bad positions. In the second minute, a sloppy defense led Buffalo with a quick shot at almost point-blank range that Conor Gable, the Cleveland goalkeeper, was able to save, but the next time wouldn’t be as fortunate.
The first Buffalo goal came just a minute later, on a play where CSC lost the ball in their defensive half and Sergio Arango of Buffalo wove through the defense and sent a shot past Conor, who may have touched it with his foot, which tickled the net. It made the score 2-1 and for a moment FCB thought they were back in. Until that man…the Poacher, Vinnie Bell, scored number two on the night. Cleveland won a free kick in the left corner. Soljevic sent a good right-footed cross near the right post that Vinnie headed in again! Good pressure on FCB led to the corner and goal.
Both teams scored goals later in the second half. Jordan Araujo for Buffalo found himself alone with the ball after a Buffalo attempt took a strange deflection. Araujo’s kick wasn’t strong but wormed its way past defenders while spinning away from Gable.
With the score back to a one goal deficit of 3-2, Cleveland pushed its way to their final goal from Vinnie Bell. Late in extra time, a deep kick sent Bell, Buffalo’s goalie and an FCB defender all jumping up simultaneously. Bell seemed to head the ball into the goal but both FCB players hit head-to-head in a violent collision. Both players were rushed to a local hospital. The ref stopped play after the goal with both sides subdued due to the injury. (UPDATE: One suffered a head injury and the other was in surgery almost immediately upon arrival. No other update from the club except that one went home with the team and the other was staying in Cleveland for at least a few days.)
Here are some great pictures from the club on their Twitter site:
— Cleveland SC (@SoccerCLE) May 15, 2022
Cleveland plays next on Sunday, May 22nd, at home against the Erie Commodores at 7 pm, and then a battle of Northeast Ohio on May 29th, away against Akron FC at St Vincent-St Mary’s HS Green Street Stadium.
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