Akron City FC Defeats Northern Indiana FC 4-2 in Amateur Cup Action

It was NPSL vs. MWPL and Ohio vs. Indiana in the USASA National Amateur Cup

Akron, Ohio was the center of the soccer universe in 1931 when the Goodyear Wingfoots defeated the New Bedford Black Cats 2-0 to win the U.S. National Amateur Cup Final in front of over 5,000 fans at Seiberling Field.  

Akron City FC is looking to make their own history in the 100th anniversary edition of the USASA National Amateur Cup.  The journey started at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School’s Green Street Stadium on Sunday with a Region II matchup against Northern Indiana FC of the Midwest Premier League (MWPL).  

The match, which resulted in a 4-2 win for Akron City, could be best described as a rollercoaster with the result in doubt until the final minutes of extra time.   

“I think we made hard work of it,” Akron City FC head coach Andy Hoggarth said. “Once we made the tying goal, we thought we would go on and take control of the game.  We give a goal up a little bit easily, and then we have to fight back.  Once we got into extra time, we knew fitness would be a big deal for us.”

The first half belonged to Northern Indiana after a slow start from Akron, and the visitors would enter halftime with a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from Eduardo da Silva in the 32nd minute.

Akron would emerge from halftime as a completely different team full of fire, spirit, and determination.  Akron’s first goal came in the 63rd minute thanks to Indiana University standout Sam Sarver.  The Chesterland, Ohio native showed tremendous technical ability and pace and was oftentimes the best player on the pitch. 

Northern Indiana continued to threaten, and the visitors would find another goal thanks to Andres Gonzalez Maza nine minutes later.  

Akron City made two substitutions in the 77th minute, looking to benefit from some fresh legs.  Both Matthew McGlaughlin and Kelly Jannsen proved to be quite valuable. 

Ryan Kingsford would even things up at 2-2 in the 85th minute, energizing the home crowd and the Rubber City Underground, the independent ACFC supporter’s club.  The Loyola Marymount University forward came up big when his team needed him most, and he wasn’t done quite yet.  While the chances continued for both sides, neither could find the deciding goal after 90+ minutes.  

USASA rules called for two 15-minute overtime periods, and the home team seemed to have the momentum thanks to Kingsford’s late goal and the backing of the home crowd.  

A penalty kick would be awarded to Akron after Pedro Faria was taken down in the box.  Kingsford would convent to his left, finishing off his brace and giving Akron the 3-2 lead in the 97th minute.     

Jackson Herbert would score Akron’s final goal in the second overtime period, making it 4-2 and putting the game out of reach for the visitors.

Akron City goalkeeper Omeed Naeemy, who tallied 257 saves and 68 starts during his time at Cleveland State University, was clearly the better goalkeeper on the night.  He made a number of key saves, including several in 1v1 situations.  

The home team clearly got stronger and stronger as the game went on, while the visitors struggled with fitness as the game stretched past 90 minutes.  Having strong, fit players from major Division I programs proved to be a difference maker.    

“All of us boys played in college and are used to the fitness levels,” Kingsford noted. “In college you are sometimes asked to play two games in the span of five days.  A lot of us are used to it.”

Akron City’s win was made even more special because it was part of a larger national competition.

“The cup brings extra determination and willingness to win,” Sarver commented. “It brings extra atmosphere.  It’s not just a win.  It’s a cup win.”

Having success in the Amateur Cup is definitely a priority for everyone at the club.  

“We want to be on the national stage,” Hoggarth concluded. “The big thing you talk about in the locker room is having the opportunity to play in the U.S. Open Cup next year if you do well in this tournament. It’s a driving force to be seen nationally and bring something back to the city and the ownership next year.” 

Akron City now advances to face Bavarian United SC in the regional semifinals with the date, time, and location to be determined in the near future.    

Photo Credit: Timothy McCarty/TVCommando Media

 

 

Other Articles