Cleveland SC Defeats Akron City FC 1-0

By Akron City FC

Akron City FC narrowly fell 1-0 to Cleveland SC on the road. 

ACFC (0-1) and Cleveland SC (1-0) took on one another to kickstart the 2024 campaign at George Finnie Stadium.  With a brand new roster competing on the road, ACFC looked strong, but the lone goal for Cleveland came on their only shot on goal of the outing.

“We had to take our chances,” ACFC head coach Andy Hoggarth said. “They had one really good chance and scored from it.  We had about six, seven, eight, nine good chances and not took one.  We can’t not take our opportunities.”

The score for Cleveland SC came from the foot of Ryan Sommerfeld.  Heading into the contest, the Battle for I-77 was highly anticipated from both sides and within the local Northeastern Ohio community. 

“This is a big game right out of the gate, can’t ask for a more exciting way to start the season,” said ACFC owner Nick Turchan prior to the game. “Last year’s match at Baldwin Wallace was one of the most entertaining games of the year and I would expect nothing less again this year.”

Turchan’s claim on excitement would only be upheld by the play on the pitch for 90 straight minutes from ACFC, even with just the one-goal scoreline.

A pedal-to-the-metal, high-intensity offense for ACFC gave little room for the home team to take a breath, but Cleveland’s defense proved too strong to break past.

In the first half of play, the scoring would be opened up in the 39th minute from the foot of Sommerfeld as he put the home team up 1-0.

Through the next six minutes, Akron battled hard to attempt to level things up but would be unable to as the Cleveland defense sat back to defend their edge.

“I think we have created about four or five really good chances,” said Hoggarth at the halftime break. “We have been playing a bit slow in the back and midfield which cost us the goal.  We are probably going to make a couple of changes to increase the pace.”

The pace would quickly be picked up in the second set of 45 minutes.  The changes referenced by Hoggarth came in the form of returnee Levi Stephens and newcomer Aidan Wolf, both in hopes of elevating the offense.

Within the first seven minutes of the second half, two corner kicks were quickly forced by ACFC but both came up just short.

The rest of the second half would be marked by a number of fouls with three yellow cards handed out between the two sides.

From the 74th minute until the final whistle, ACFC forced three corners which helped to maintain the strong focal point on offensive pressure.  However, just like the opportunities they had before, none resulted in the tying score.

“We will have to think about some changes,” Hoggarth said. “We will watch tonight and look at some things we can tweak as we think about it this week.”

The rivals will compete one more time in the regular season for the season series towards the back half of June.

“I urge soccer fans and families in Northeast Ohio to get out to the second leg at home on June 22,” Turchan said. “Nowhere else can you see this level of soccer in your backyard at extremely affordable prices.”

ACFC next looks to take on the Michigan Rangers on Saturday, May 25 with kickoff set for 7:00 pm at Green Street Stadium on the campus of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.  It will be Akron’s home opener of the 2024 season. 

 

Photo Credit: Kylie Cook

 

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