Syracuse FC took to the road last weekend for the final two matches of the 2017 inaugural season. On July 15th, on a beautiful summer evening in Pittsburgh, PA, SFC drew with the Fort Pitt Regiment by a score of 1-1. They faced conference leaders Erie Commodores on Sunday evening under rainy skies in Erie, PA, where the match also ended in a 1-1 draw.
“It was a great team effort and a positive way to conclude our inaugural season with a draw against the conference champions,” said SFC head coach Matt Tantalo. “I’m proud of the progress this team made and the way we fought to the end.”
The match against the Fort Pitt Regiment on Saturday, July 15th, was characterized by highly competitive back and forth action. In the first 12 minutes of the match, SFC earned two corners that were dealt with by the Fort Pitt defense. On the other side of the pitch, SFC goalkeeper Pat Castle was able to keep Fort Pitt off the scoreboard with three sure-handed saves in the match’s first 15 minutes.
A Fort Pitt foul in the 16th minute led to a free kick by Ben Ramin. A deflection off the wall gave Ramin another shot that was saved by the Fort Pitt goalkeeper. In the 19th minute, Luiz Mota was injured and SFC played with ten men before he was able to return to action a few minutes later. SFC’s offensive attack continued, but a header by Adnan Bakalovic went just out of reach of Ramin into the arms of the Fort Pitt goalkeeper. Just moments later, Ramin produced a close-range shot that was swiftly knocked out by Fort Pitt.
Throughout the first 45 minutes, there were a number of scoring opportunities and shots on goal for both teams, but neither was able to finish. During stoppage time, Fort Pitt’s Max Flick finally broke the scoreless tie with a 20-yard shot into the back of the net.
The second half of the match began with the same intensity as the first 45 minutes of play, and SFC’s quality offense paid off in the 60th minute when Ramin tied the match at 1-1. The rebound goal marked the forward’s first goal of the season.
During the finishing minutes of the match, Nate Bourdeau and Mota had several opportunities to give SFC the lead, but the Fort Pitt defense did not allow any additional goals. At the match’s final whistle, Syracuse FC drew Fort Pitt 1-1.
SFC v Erie: Syracuse FC faced the Erie Commodores on Sunday, July 16th, in the final match of their Inaugural Season. The highly competitive match in Erie, PA, saw intense action and tactical ability, and ended in a 1-1 draw against the NPSL East Conference leaders.
In the opening minutes of the match, a threatening corner by SFC was handily dealt with by the Erie backline, but patient team play and passing resulted in an early goal for SFC. Offensive possession in the 18th minute led to a touch by Jake Kohlbrenner in front of the net. Kohlbrenner swiftly slotted his shot into the left half of the goal, giving Syracuse a 1-0 lead. The goal marked the third of the season for the SFC midfielder.
As the first half progressed, SFC continued to put pressure on Erie and the Commodores defense, but Erie’s Ezana Kahsay was able to tie the match at 1-1 in the 32nd minute.
Erie’s subsequent scoring opportunities were swiftly dealt with by the SFC backline and the smart instincts of goalkeeper Pat Castle. The end of the half saw SFC and Erie still deadlocked at one goal apiece.
The second half of the match began with meaningful possession by SFC in the attacking third of the pitch, resulting in some quality shots. The match was interrupted by lightning in the 67th minute, and subsequent heavy rainfall created a slippery field surface for the remainder of the match. Both teams had scoring opportunities following the stoppage of play, but neither was able to produce a go-ahead goal.
SFC received two corner kicks that put pressure on the Erie defense during the closing minutes, but the match was still tied at 1-1 at the final whistle, earning SFC one more point for their quality effort on the road.
Syracuse FC finished their inaugural season with nine points and a record of 2-3-7 in NPSL play, and an overall record of 3-3-7.
“Obviously we were not pleased with our overall record and our standing in the conference,” said Tantalo. “And we did not meet the standard we set for ourselves. That being said, we did show our quality and ability to compete among the NPSL elite, finishing at 1-1-2 against the top two teams in the conference (Erie & Dayton).”
It was an eventful first season for the new NPSL team, and the Central New York fans were a big part of it. Their enthusiasm never wavered through the season with an average home match crowd of more than 1,250. Tantalo offered thanks to SFC fans and to Central Union 48, the SFC supporters group, for their “phenomenal support from start to finish.”
“Without question, we have the best fans and supporters in the conference,” Tantalo said. “We are thankful to share this club with them and we’re excited to continue building something special together here in Syracuse. With a lot to take away from year one, we are confident that big things are on the horizon and the future of Syracuse FC will be bright. Stay tuned during the offseason and go SFC!”
Syracuse FC merchandise is available for purchase at SyracuseFCShop.net, and SFC fans can take their support to a new level with Syracuse FC Founders Club membership, available only during this 2017 inaugural season. SFC Founders Club members will have a voice in the overall direction of the organization, including but not limited to the opportunity to:
– Attend a meeting with a member of the SFC Leadership Group at least once a year
– Vote on primary, secondary, and third game jersey colors
– Advise on matters regarding game-day experience
– Advise on matters that primarily affect fan experience
The Founders Club lifetime membership package includes: three pairs of adult season tickets (one pair for each of the next three consecutive seasons, 2018-2020), an authentic inaugural season jersey in choice of black, white or maroon, an SFC scarf, and more. There are only a few weeks left to become a Syracuse FC Founders Club member. For more information, please visit syracusefcshop.net/founders-club-membership/.