By Erie Commodores FC
Excitement was high for the Commodores after coming off of a two-game preseason 1-1. The game started off slow with both sides making multiple shots on goal with no luck. Only in the second half did Pittsburgh score the one and only goal of the game in the 50th minute, with Erie making close shots at the very end in extra time. Joe Knox had two shots during the game, following him was Anthony O’Donnell and Andres Latorre with one, yet none were able to see the back of the net. Austin Solomon, Noah Chia, Anthony O’Sullivan, and James Pool all had the full 90 minutes.
Right from kickoff, the Commodores saw much of the action on their side of the field. An early corner kick in the second minute came from the Hotspurs and was deflected away by Commodores goalkeeper Maximiliano Rocco. The ball fell right before a Hotspurs player where a goal was almost scored, but the ball went just wide of the net. Noah Chia gave the Commodores their first shot on goal with a cross from the left sideline, but Hotspurs goalkeeper Mike Zolniercyzk was able to make the save. Just after the fourth minute, Pittsburgh was given another opportunity to take the lead with a corner from Ethan Hackenberg but the shot was saved by Rocco.
The Commodores began to put a little more pressure on the Hotspurs in the eighth minute, but it wasn’t enough to score. Erie’s Malvin Gblah crossed the ball in towards the Pittsburgh goal but was knocked away by the Hotspurs defense. Chia was able to gain slight control of the ball after Pittsburgh’s deflection, but it ended with a diving save from Zolniercyzk. A yellow card in the 16th minute to the Commodores’ Hugo Le Guennec gave the Hotspurs yet another chance but the kick was an easy save for Rocco. Erie’s first corner came in the 21st minute of the game from Chia, but was headed away by Pittsburgh.
Erie’s team saw another yellow to O’Donnell, but the kick from Pittsburgh was deflected by Austin Solomon before they could make their way to the Erie goal. Rocco made another great save after Pittsburgh’s Tate Mahoney crossed the ball in from the right sideline, Rocco tipping the ball just over the net. Towards the end of the first half, possession of the ball was held in the middle of the field for most of the time by both teams. The half ended 0-0.
Going into the second half of the game, it wasn’t long until the Hotspurs were able to take the lead over the Commodores. A 50th minute goal came from Bryan Akongo, and it was assisted by Ethan Hackenberg.
Erie’s third yellow card of the game was given to Adam O’Sullivan in the 54th minute. The Commodores knew they needed to get more pressure on the ball if they wanted to equalize, and that almost came in the 56th minute but the ball grazed just the top of the net. After the Commodores regained control a few minutes later, Knox had his shot which was deflected by the Pittsburgh defense. His second came in the 71st, where it drifted just slightly wide right of the net.
The Commodores, feeling the pressure to score, kept the ball in good possession in the end half of the match but it came with no luck as the game ended as a 1-0 win for the Pittsburgh Hotspurs.
Photo Credit: Erie Commodores FC