Syracuse FC Falls to Defending Conference Champions Erie Commodores in Opening Match

In a game with chances few and far between, Syracuse FC lost 1-0 to Erie Commodores Saturday night at OCC’s Lazer Stadium.

The match kicked off at 7:00 pm and started off physical, with SFC forward Haris Brkovic having his shirt ripped within the first minute of the contest. As possessions went back and forth, teams battled heavy wind to try and create some chances.

Syracuse FC, led by coach Matt Tantalo, pressured early to try and get an opening shot on Erie’s goal. However, the offense weren’t able to find the correct pass in the final third and could not test Erie goalkeeper Nicolau Neto in the first half.

Tantalo made his first substitution in the 32nd minute, replacing Brkovic with Nate Bourdeau to try and create an opportunity before halftime. Bourdeau’s first possession, though, was not what he would have wanted. He lost the ball in his own half to Erie midfielder Craig Quinn, who shot into the wind in the 36th minute of play and floated the ball over Syracuse goalkeeper Jake Leahy and into the goal.

Syracuse did have a chance to equalize before half time as John-Austin Ricks had a free kick right outside the box. His shot was saved to Neto’s left, and this was SFC’s best chance to even the score.

During the second half, Syracuse FC was playing into a stiffening wind, but both teams had their chances. Leahy made three saves in the opening 10 minutes to keep it a one-goal contest. Syracuse FC’s second substitution came in the 51st minute when Patrick Strauss came in to replace an injured Connor McGoldrick.

Although SFC was able to maintain possession, the wind and the Erie defense forced the home team into playing a lot of square and negative balls, making it difficult to create dangerous scoring chances.

Syracuse continued to try and find opportunities but weren’t able to get the ball on net. The best chance of the second half came with a cross from Ricks, which made its way to SFC midfielder Lukas Rubio who was unmarked on the box. Rubio’s header sailed left of the goal.

Tantalo made Syracuse’s last substitution in the 88th minute, sending in Joe Falcone for Ben Ramin.

As the game reached additional time, Syracuse pushed its team forward to try and create a chance, but they were held goalless by the defending conference champions in the opening match of the season.

“An unfortunate result,” said Tantalo. “We played well in many aspects, but haven’t clicked yet in the attack. We will get there. We saw the potential for what this team will become.”

Syracuse FC takes to the road for its next three games, against Binghamton FC on May 23rd, FC Buffalo on May 27th, and Erie Commodores in a Pennsylvania rematch on June 2nd. SFC returns home on Wednesday, June 6th, when the team will face Rochester Lancers at 7:00 pm at Lazer Stadium.

Match day tickets are available at the box office beginning one hour prior to every home game at 6:00 pm. Or purchase your tickets in advance at and receive an online discount. Season tickets are available at


Contributor: Syracuse FC
Photo Credit: Tristan Rapp

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