By Scott Wilson/Erie Commodores FC
A goal from Danish striker Mathias Krigbaum right on the stroke of halftime and second-half
strikes from Rodrigo Paredes and Gabriel Peres were enough to clinch a critical three points
against Cleveland SC on Friday night. Cleveland would end up playing over 50 minutes with
only 10 men after midfielder Tom Beck was sent off.
Both teams struggled to play the free-flowing game that their British coaches desire. The game
was played in front of a good crowd, upping the atmosphere another level or two. The small
section of supporters from the Armada could make the trip home happy knowing they had got
one up on archrivals Cleveland.
From the beginning, the Erie side were under pressure from the offset with the confident
Cleveland side really setting the tempo and dictating play in midfield. The first meaningful
chance of the game came in the third minute with good build-up playing from that Cleveland
midfield. This led to a good attempt from the Cleveland forward but the strike was blocked by
the recovering Andrew Bennett. Goalkeeper Alexander Brems was called into making a smart
save from another Cleveland effort from 15 yards out as he pushed it wide. The first chance for
the Commodores fell to Krigbaum in the 24 th minute after one of his trademark powerful runs,
beating two players before forcing the Cleveland keeper into making the save. Cleveland were
on top of for most of the first half but the Erie back four were holding firm not allowing many
clear chances. Yet the scoreline was 0-0.
Cleveland were reduced to 10 men in the 39 th minute after midfielder Tom Beck was sent off.
This deficit in numbers allowed Erie to gain control of the game and shortly after should have
taken the lead. After a nice play from Craig Quinn, who slipped in Curtis Stollery on the right,
the shot was deflected wide and the score remained at 0-0.
The Commodores would open the scoring seconds before halftime. A great run down the left by
fullback Ashley Phillips, who beat his defender on the outside then delivered a cross to the near
post, found Krigbaum, who fired a shot into the roof of the net with a first-time finish. That was
the Dane’s second goal of the season. Erie Commodores carried that 1-0 lead into halftime.
The second half started the way that the first half ended. Erie really started to grow into the
game and began to control the tempo and dictate the play. Cleveland still looked dangerous on
the break. And in the 60 th minute Cleveland had a good chance to equalize but the forward
pulled his strike wide. Cleveland would rue this missed chance in the 73 rd minute as Parades
would open his account for the season. After some neat play down the left, the ball would be
switched to the right side where Parades took the ball down and dragged it by the defender to the
end line and then smashed a shot towards the goal and past the keeper. The Erie Commodores
now had a 2-0 lead.
Erie would go on to score a third goal only three minutes later through Peres on his first
appearance of the season. Erie countered attacked down the left side through Owen Connelly
and Ivo Mendoza with the latter switching play to the waiting Peres, who set himself up well
with a good first touch and then fired past the goalkeeper from the edge of the box. Erie now
had a 3-0 lead.
Cleveland SC would go on to score a consolation goal in the 88 th minute but the 10 men of
Cleveland were out on their feet after putting everything into the battle. Erie had one last chance
of scoring a fourth in the 91 st minute through Kieran Paterson but the big striker couldn’t convert.
The match ended as a 3-1 win for Erie.
The Commodores were clinical in front of goal and clinched a very important three points, which
saw them reach the summit of the conference table with three wins from three games. The
Commodores have their first home NPSL fixture this coming Sunday, June 2 nd at McConnell
Family Stadium at Gannon University in Erie, PA. Erie takes on Syracuse FC in the return
fixture at 2:00 pm ET.
Photo Credit: Richard Kruszynski/ISNSoccer.com