By Erie Commodores FC
The 2020 National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Members Cup got underway Friday night at
Erie’s Veterans Memorial Stadium. Neither the Pittsburgh Hotspurs or Cleveland SC scored any
goals in the first half, but as it turned out, there would be plenty of fireworks in the final 45
Pittsburgh’s Nate Dragisich netted the game-tying goal – his second of the night – in the final
seconds of extra time as the Hotspurs and Cleveland SC battled to a 2-2 draw in the thrilling
opening stanza of a two-day, four-team event.
While Cleveland dominated field position in the first half, it was the brilliant work of Pittsburgh
keeper Domenic Nascimben that kept things scoreless. Constantly diving to his right, it seemed
like Nascimben spent more time on the ground rather than upright. At one point, after falling
forward to stop an oncoming attempt, his teammate Jacob O’Donnell stood in front of the net to
deflect the rebound.
The clubs went into the locker room scoreless, though that wouldn’t be the case for long.
In the 57 th minute, the Hotspurs’ Nate Dragisich struck a brilliantly-angled ground ball into the
left corner of the net to put Pittsburgh in front 1-0, seemingly stunning Cleveland SC.
Stunned or not, Cleveland responded. Twelve minutes later, Coletun Long sent in a brilliant goal
from Kevin Blackwood to knot things up – and pull the momentum back their way. The club
from Northeast Ohio ran with that momentum, as in the 83 rd minute Szabolics Wiksell pounded
home the go-ahead whistler for Cleveland SC, making the score 2-1 in their favor.
With the clock winding down in extra time, the Hotspurs were again able to get it to Dragisich,
from about 25 yards out – and he delivered.
Dragisich’s superb strike found the back of the net. Moments later the whistles sounded, and the
game ended in a 2-2 draw.
The 2020 NPSL Members Cup will conclude on Wednesday, July 29 th at Cathedral Prep’s
Hagerty Family Events Center. Erie and Pittsburgh will get underway at 6:00 pm, and Cleveland
and Buffalo will follow at 7:45.
Photo Credit: Erie Commodores FC