Erie Commodores FC have won the Midwest Region’s East Conference after a 1-1 tie with Syracuse FC on Sunday night.
The Commodores would secure the conference and a home playoff game against Dayton with a win or a tie. With a Syracuse win, Dayton would host Rochester, who defeated Erie on Saturday night to keep their playoffs hope alive.
Needing just one point to secure the conference for the first time since 2013, the Commodores did what they needed to in a game where Syracuse scored first and the game was held up by 40 min because of lightning.
In a hotly contested game that showed little between the sides, both teams set out to attack and after Syracuse scored in the 17th minute, Erie had it all to do.
Ezana Kahsay came off the bench to replace the injured Malcolm Shaw and it didn’t take him long to have an impact scoring off a header from a great delivery by Marshall Garcia in the 31st minute. The teams were tied 1-1 at the half.
The second half started with Syracuse having the better of the possession with Erie sitting back a little to protect the tie. As the game went on, the Commodores came well into the game and had a few half chances and a succession of corner kicks, which failed to produce anything meaningful.
Then in the 67th minute lightning literally struck and the game was delayed.
After 40 minutes, the game restarted as both teams still tried to attack and get that next goal. Erie did get it from Kahsay again, but he was judged to have fouled the defender in the process.
The last ten minutes saw little in the way of chances for either team and full credit has to be given to Syracuse. With their league position, they had nothing to really play for, but played well, battled hard, and that means the the East Conference was won on goal difference by Erie. Dayton finished second, with Rochester, Cleveland, and Buffalo in third, fourth, and fifth place, respectively.
Erie will now host Dayton Dynamo FC in Erie, PA on Saturday, July 22nd at 7:00 pm.