Hershey FC Defeats Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 2-1
By Ben Shirk/Hershey FC
Hershey FC started the season off with a home game against Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals at Middletown Area High School Stadium.
Hershey was able to overcome a lot and take the first victory for new coach Rich Bryan. What made it even more special was Hershey had a community night for their rec program. They had about 50 athletes from their community program out to watch, which made for a very energetic crowd.
The Ukrainians started off strong with four shots hitting the framework in the first 28 minutes. Hershey then started to settle in, and the game became a little bit of a chess match. Hershey FC and Ukrainians were still tied at 0-0 going into halftime.
The start of the second half was strong for the Ukrainian Nationals with another near miss just three minutes into the second half but Hershey FC was the first one on the scoreboard. In the 56th minute, Hershey had a free kick about 50 yards out. Luke Johnson took the quick restart and played it to the corner where Evan Lamarca put a great ball across. Owen Clark made a great run and forced the defender to make a play on the ball. The goal ended up being credited as an own goal but Hershey’s movement made it happen.
Just four minutes later, Hershey had another free kick from about 45 yards out. Johnson hit a gorgeous ball into the box. Brain San challenged the goalie in the air and made the goalkeeper mishandle the shot for another Hershey goal. Hershey was now up 2-0, and the pressure was on the Ukrainian Nationals.
Jaeden Amato was given the first of two yellows of the night at the 69th minute after putting Brain San on the ground. In the 80th minute, Reed Sturza from the Ukrainian Nationals took a beautiful free kick from just outside the box. Sturza put it just over the wall and Hershey keeper Luke Snyder must not have seen the shot as he was left flatfooted as the ball crossed the line. Ukrainian really started to put the pressure on Hershey after that goal. After a great save by Snyder, Hershey tried to counter quick but Braden Alicea from the Ukrainian Nationals took a tactical yellow to slow the play in the 86th minute. Ukrainians kept the pressure high which made for an exciting end to the game. After a few more chances from the Ukrainian Nationals, Hershey was able to hold on for a big win to start the season.
Snyder was chosen to be the MVP of the game after being a leader on the defensive side of the ball. His presence in goal gave Hershey the confidence to get forward and create the chances they needed to win. He made some great saves, and Hershey really relied on him.
Bryan shared his thoughts on the match.
“Tremendously proud of the effort, grit and character shown today from our boys,” Bryan said. “Was a tough game, in extreme heat against a well-coached Philadelphia Ukrainians. Now we look to our first road opener at Electric City and to build on this performance.”
Photos Provided by Hershey FC