By Erie Commodores FC
When the Erie Commodores and FC Buffalo get together, soccer fans know it’s going to be a
Friday night’s contest was no exception.
Akeen Shackelford scored the go-ahead goal in the 71 st minute, and followed it up with his
second of the evening shortly thereafter, as Buffalo held on to defeat the Commodores 3-2 at
Veterans Memorial Stadium. It was the second game of the four-team, two-day National
Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Members Cup.
His second goal of the night in the 75 th minute appeared to clinch things – until extra time.
Erie thought it had cut the lead in half following a corner kick by Gabriel Peres. The ball
glanced off Buffalo keeper Andreas Queen and into the back corner of the net, but it was waived
off. This proved to be an important event as moments later Even Beutler did push one through
for the Commodores on a brilliant play, assisted by Malvin Gblan.
But at that point, Erie’s enemy became the clock. FC Buffalo ran off the final two minutes of
extra time and came away with the 3-2 win.
Much of the first half was dominated by defenses – and the keepers – Queen and the
Commodores’ Chris Ralph.
But in the 43 rd minute, Buffalo’s Robert Williamson broke the scoreless tie. The penalty-kick
goal allowed his squad to take the lead – and the momentum – into halftime.
Erie regained that momentum in the 61 st minute, when Rodrigo Parades Acosta sent home a
brilliant strike from 30 yards out, tying the contest at one.
That, however, was when Shackleford went to work. He became the second player of the 2020
NPSL Members Cup to score two goals in a contest, as earlier in the evening Pittsburgh’s Nate
Dragisich accomplished the same feat in a 2-2 tie against Cleveland SC.
Away from the pitch, the most important aspect of Friday’s game will be what comes down the
line. Erie wore special uniforms to honor the first responders to COVID-19, and they will be
auctioning off those jerseys to raise money for people most affected by the virus.
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, followed by
Cleveland and Buffalo.
Photo Credit: Erie Commodores FC