The Commodores traveled to John Carroll University Friday night for the first match of the NPSL season with Cleveland SC. Everything was set up for a huge matchup between the two clubs with Erie sitting atop of the conference and Cleveland sitting in second, looking to take three points from Erie and shrink the gap between first and second.
With rain, heavy thunder, and lightning threatening, Erie wanted to get out in the first half and get the score line headed in their direction. The Commodores controlled much of the possession in the first 30 minutes of play with most of the chances of the match coming from them. It wasn’t until the 32nd minute of play were Cleveland found their breakthrough when Cleveland’s Vinny Bell got loose inside the Erie 18-yard box and buried the opening tally for the night.
Ten minutes later in the 42nd minute Erie would level the scoring at 1-1 when after a cross and the ball bouncing around in the center of the Cleveland box, the ball would bounce out to Erie’s Casey Bartlett-Scott and he would send the ball to the back of the net. The teams would head to the dressing rooms at halftime with the score line at 1-1 and everything still to play for.
After the break Erie would waste no time and put pressure on CSC’s right back when Fernando Martinez, with the ball in the corner, would nutmeg CSC’s Dan Manolache to get into the penalty area where he would be brought to the ground and was awarded a penalty kick for the Commodores in the 46th minute. Bartlett-Scott would step up to take the penalty for Erie, but would send the kick off the bar for a Cleveland goal kick.
Fifteen minutes later the Commodores would shake that missed penalty off with a beautiful string of passes around the top of the Cleveland box where it would eventually land at Jack Simpson’s feet and he turned the ball into the net for the Erie lead at 2-1. The Erie lead wouldn’t last long when two minutes later, in the 68th minute, Cleveland would find themselves pressuring the Erie defense and would send a cross into the middle of the box for Bell to send home.
With the score level again at 2-2, Erie would have been happy with sharing the points with Cleveland on the night, but they had different plans. In the 79th minute Bell found himself slotting home the game-winning goal and the third for him on the night. Cleveland would take all three points from tonight’s match and close the gap on Erie in the race for the conference crown.
Contributor: Erie Commodores FC
Photo Credit: Jennifer White/Acacia Studios