85 degrees heat and two games in two days made this a tough game for Erie Commodores FC. Battling to a 2-2 draw, despite the scheduling conundrum, was an achievement, especially as the Lancers had seven days to rest from their last game. A cagey start by both teams made most of the first half a pretty bland event. The Lancers had a couple of shots hit right at the keeper. The Commodores’ best chance of the half came when Gabriel Perez received the ball from Craig Quinn and cut onto his left foot 18 yards out. However, the shot ended up being a couple of feet wide of the keeper’s far post. The Lancers got the breakthrough and took a 1-0 lead five minutes before half time. Kwame Opoku, from the right back position, stepped up to dispossess the Lancers’ Anthony Rozzano. The ball deflected in favor of Rozzano, who crossed for William Stone to have a free header which he put past the netminder Neto.
The second half saw the Commodores come out of their shell a little to get something out of the game. After some good work down the right wing from Opoku, the ball was crossed into the middle before being headed out by a Lancers defender. The clearance only went as far as Quinn, who was on the edge of the Rochester box. Quinn played the ball first time to Jacob Altitodore, who calmly faked with his left pulling the ball tightly into his right foot and slotted the ball in the far corner beyond the reach of the keeper. This would make the score 1-1.
Rochester would tilt the match back into their favor a while after the Commodores leveled the match. Erie would make four changes in the 56th minute bringing on Cam Philpot, Steven Rigg, Andy Bennett, and Fernando Martinez to provide fresh legs for the remainder of the match. The battle went from end to end with most of the work happening in the center of the park. Philpot would lead a drive down the touchline and combine with Quinn, only to be run off the ball by the Lancers left back. As the Lancers tried to play the ball back to their goalkeeper, it was Steven Rigg lurking in between the center backs waiting to pounce. He did just that, seeing the pass was not hit well and with the Rochester goalie not moving to the pass. He intercepted the pass and touched it past the goalie and buried the match’s equalizer.
Erie and Rochester would battle for the rest of the 90 minutes going back and forth, creating many opportunities. But the heat, intensity of the match, and lack of fresh legs led the opportunities to sail just wide of the goal. Ultimately the match would end 2-2 and Rochester and Erie splitting the spoils. Erie goes to the top of the conference with seven points and taking four points from a hard weekend with back-to-back matches.
Contributor: Erie Commodores FC
Photo Credit: Rob Daniels/Rochester Lancers