Erie returned home from their Southern Tier tour to take on Syracuse FC for the second and final time of the NPSL regular season at Sox Harrison Stadium on the campus of Edinboro University. The Commodores looked to continue their unbeaten run in the league and Syracuse FC were looking for a much-needed three points on the road.
Erie wasted no time in the opening moments of the match as they put together a fine string of passes through the middle of the park, feeding Cam Philpot on the the left flank in the fourth minute. Philpot crossed the ball to a streaking Steven Rigg, who converted his shot through traffic beating the Syracuse’s goalkeeper on his near post.
The Commodores continued their possession dominance throughout the first half, providing many opportunities on goal but nothing dropped for the home side. Syracuse found a few opportunities to get forward and put pressure on Erie’s back four and goalie Nicolau Neto.
Neto recorded two saves in the first half, easily keeping Syracuse at bay.
The second half provided much of the drama on the day. Coming out of the dressing room seemed to bring a little uneasiness to the Erie side as they conceded much of the possession and attacking opportunities to their New York opponents. Syracuse did find a wonderful chance at as the Joe Falcone beat three of Erie’s defenders on a run at goal. The ball would beat the keeper and roll towards the goal as Commodores defender Kwame Opoku cleared the ball off the line in a move that seemed to keep the clean sheet intact. Moments later the assistant referee signaled that the ball indeed crossed the line, leveling the score line at one.
In the 78th minute Erie would make two changes bringing on defender TJ Reid and forward Chris Eduardo. The fresh legs proved to be a much-needed change for the home side as they would attack the Syracuse goal for much of the remaining 12 minutes. Plenty of chances were created in the final minutes of the match, but as time ticked on the home side was starting to see the three points slip away from them.
But a late corner kick would provide the late drama that the fans were waiting for. As the corner was taken the ball would bounce around in the box before popping out to the top of the box, at just about 20 yards from goal to Chris Eduardo’s feet. A quick touch out of his feet and a shot on goal would see the ball past the Syracuse FC goalie and into the back of the net in the 90th minute.
The scoreboard would read 2-1 as the Commodores finished out the five minutes of stoppage time. As the final whistle blew, the Commodores would claim all three points at home after all.
Contributor: Lane T. King/Erie Commodores FC
Photo Credit: Lane T. King/Erie Commodores FC