Cleveland SC earned the first three points in club history Saturday night with a 2-0 win against Rochester Lancers. Goals from Declan McGivern and Antonio Manfut gave the club an important win and put Cleveland SC on top of the Midwest East Conference standings after the first weekend.
The matchup between conference foes was an early test for head coach Ryan Osborne’s newly formed squad, but the Cleveland SC executed the gameplan and controlled most of the match in front of the home fans.
“I think we did pretty well,” said Osborne. “We didn’t give anything up on the defensive end which was really nice. The fact that we put two away was really nice, but we could have had as many as four or five with the chances we had.”
Cleveland SC were poised to open the scoring early in the match when forward Vinny Bell drew a foul in the penalty area. Admir Suljevic stepped up in the ninth minute to take the spot kick as he did twice during preseason friendlies. Suljevic placed the ball right, but bounced the penalty kick off the post and out of play.
Cleveland SC kept strong possession in search of a goal, but had a difficult time breaking through the Lancer defense early in the match.
The home team finally found success on a set piece late in the first half when Cleveland SC defender Declan McGivern headed a corner kick delivered by Antonio Manfut into the net for a 39th minute goal.
McGivern, who was named Man of the Match, was encouraged by the start to the season.
“It’s nice to start out with a win, a clean sheet is always nice. I think we have a really good core group of guys, some with experience and others in college which is always fantastic. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the season has in store.”
Cleveland SC’s knack for drawing penalty kicks continued in the second half when Kareem Banton was fouled in the box after making a move past a Rochester defender and driving toward goal. Manfut’s conversion doubled Cleveland’s lead and proved to be the final score of the match.
McGivern nearly scored a second headed goal in the 70th, but his connection following a corner kick with Dan Koniarczyk was saved by the Lancers goalkeeper.
Cleveland SC’s defense, led by Coletun Long, goalscorer Declan McGivern, and goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt, closed the match to give the club a clean sheet in its home opener.
Cleveland SC are back home at Don Shula Stadium Saturday, May 26 at 3:30 pm in search of the second win in club history.
Contributor: Cleveland SC
Photo Credit: Ric Kruszynski/ISNSoccer.com