Akron City FC Defeats Cleveland SC 3-0

By Akron City FC

A three-goal day from Akron City FC’s Stefan Dobrijevic leads the charge for a clean-sheet win over rival Cleveland SC.

In front of a packed house at Green Street Stadium, ACFC dominated CSC from start to finish en route to a comfortable 3-0 win.  From start to finish, the club defended their home turf as they produced a high-intensity offense and a brick wall-like defense. 

The win propels ACFC ahead in the Great Lakes Standings, solidifying them in second place behind Steel City FC.  ACFC now sits 5-0-2 in league play, while boasting a club-record 15 points with three games remaining in the season.

Heading into the game, ACFC head coach Andy Hoggarth was excited to see what his team could provide the City of Akron, especially with the outing set to be one of the most attended in club history.

“I think any time you have a game which brings two cities together that are close to each other, that the game and atmosphere gets hyped up,” Hoggarth said. “I think the entire squad and staff are driven to make sure we entertain our home crowd and make sure they enjoy Saturday evening.”

The game began with forward Sam Sarver continuing his reign of terror on the right side of the pitch.  Coming off of a five-goal performance against Flower City Union, he instantly made his presence known against the rival team up north.

He immediately started to push the opposing team’s defenders back with relentless pressure, which only grew the drive from the rest of the ACFC squad.  Within the first three minutes, ACFC had already forced a corner kick, followed by another in the 10th minute.

However, the real action was kicked off in the 21st minute as Dobrijevic opened the game up with the first goal.  He made a far run on the left side of the pitch, receiving the ball from midfielder Colin Biros and placing his first touch behind the CSC goalkeeper.

CSC tried to turn the tide through the next few controls of possession, but each attempt was shut down by the ACFC defense.  They would ultimately suffer a massive blowback in the 29th as CSC goalkeeper Brendan Moher came out of the box and attempted to clear a ball away from Sarver.

Moher would miss on his challenge, taking out the knees of Sarver and receiving a red card.  His tackle put the away side down a man for the rest of the game.  In his replacement, Dominic Williams came in to lead the charge for the back line.

Unfortunately, the action came at him quickly.

In the 45th minute, ACFC found their second goal of the game and yet again, it came from the foot of Dobrijevic.  He received a deflected through ball from the 35-yard-line on ACFC’s side of the field that flew into the final third of CSC.

After Poling came out of the box to try and stop the play, he was juked to the side by Dobrijevic before he smashed the ball into a clear goal.

At the end of 45 minutes, Hoggarth was satisfied with the production from his offense but still wanted to see more from his guys in the second half.

“In the first 20 minutes or so, it was a little bit cagey with both teams feeling each other out,” he said. “We got a nice goal on the break with a good finish from Stefan [Dobrijevic] and we know that Sam’s [Sarver] pace will create opportunities.  We took control of the game, and the second goal was massive.”

Hoggarth also said that the defensive pressure on Sarver was something he expected from CSC’s game plan coming into the outing.

“We talked a bit in the pregame that their left back was probably their best player,” he said. “We knew for Sam that was not going to be an easy day, so we put some of our focus on our other forwards overlapping.”

Coming out of the break, the two teams battled back and forth through the midfield as both teams attempted to establish momentum.  However, neither was able to in the opening stretch.

The first attempt from ACFC on goal came from Biros in the 59th minute, as a chip shot was easily collected by Williams.

For Dobrijevic, his hat trick would formulate roughly 10 minutes later.

In the 78th minute, he took a beautiful chip over a CSC defender from midfielder Jannis Schmidt, before slicing it past Williams into the bottom left corner for his third goal.  His elite level of play put the home team up by an impressive three-goal edge.

The remainder of the 12 minutes of game time was marked by continued light pressure on both sides of the pitch, but no more tallies on the scoreboard.  ACFC trotted to a 3-0 win over the club’s rival up north.

With the win, ACFC moves to an impressive 6-0-3 record on the season, while sitting 5-0-2 in NPSL play.  The victory also pushes them above CSC in the Great Lakes standings as they now sit in second place, dropping CSC down the table to a record of 4-0-3.

Saturday also marked the first time in club history that ACFC had taken down CSC, continuing a long stretch of historic marks found in the 2024 campaign.

“It was great, you know with the local rivalry,” Hoggarth said. “We felt as though we should have won the first game of the season but maybe that was a good driving force for us that we didn’t.  Tonight was a big one for us, and it feels good to get this one out of the way.”

ACFC next turns its attention to Friday, June 28 where they will travel on the road to take on Southern Indiana Guardians FC with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 pm EST.  The outing will take place at Floyd Central High School Sports Complex in Georgetown, IN.  Fans and supporters can support the club on the road by tuning in to the broadcast or attending the match.    

Photo Credit: Kylie Cook/Akron City FC

 

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