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Match Report | Flower City Union vs Cleveland SC

Uleto Fuentes of Cleveland SC vs Flower City Union
Photo by Gary Wiggins

Heartbreak in Rochester: Cleveland SC Falls Short in Season Finale Against Flower City Union

On a beautiful Saturday evening, July 6th, the boys traveled to the Rochester Community Sports Complex in Rochester, New York, for the last match of the regular season. With a playoff spot on the line, we faced Flower City Union for the first time this season.


After our draw against Michigan Rangers FC, a few changes were made to the starting eleven. The front three remained the same, while Aidan Bozak and Keegan Dawson joined captain Daniel Koniarczyk in the midfield. The backline saw two changes with Hayden Haffner and Lucas Oliveira starting alongside Tapiwa Mushonga and Uleto Fuentes. Ryan Polling started in goal.


The game began slowly for Cleveland as we struggled to maintain possession and string together passes to get out of our half. Flower City Union scored the first goal in the 4th minute when Rodrigo Almeida headed in a cross. After the goal, the boys began to settle into the game, pushing the ball into the opposition's half more frequently and controlling possession. Our efforts paid off when Fuentes won the ball back in midfield, passing to Stanislas Koval, who took the ball down the left wing and passed to Bozak at the top of the box, who slotted it into the side netting, making it 1-1.


The game opened up for both clubs, but clear chances were scarce. In the 23rd minute, Koval was offside when a cross came in, nullifying a potential opportunity. Polling made a crucial save in the 26th minute to keep the game level. Jaden Wright received our first yellow card for a late challenge in the 28th minute. Another big chance came a minute later when Wright played the ball across goal to Ethan Jacobs, but Parker Kump made a brilliant save in front of the goal. In the 31st minute, Wright received his second yellow card and was sent off after pushing a Flower City player. Daniel Koniarczyk was also booked a minute later for pulling Almeida's shirt. Koval won a free kick but couldn't convert, and Uleto Fuentes won another free kick, resulting in a yellow card for Gavin Rice. At halftime, the score was 1-1, with Cleveland playing a man down.


Tapiwa Mushonga of Cleveland SC vs Flower City Union
Photo by Gary Wiggins

No changes were made at the start of the second half. Our first substitution saw Logan Penton replace Ethan Jacobs to strengthen the midfield in the 51st minute. Koval won another free kick but couldn't convert it, keeping our hopes high. Penton won a free kick right outside the box after some quick passes but hit the wall with his shot. Our second substitution brought Brenden Swann on for the injured Tapiwa Mushonga. With Mushonga heading off, Cleveland was forced to play with Koniarczyk, Oliveira, Fuentes, Dawson, and Haffner on the back line. Swann was booked in the 73rd minute for pulling a Flower City player's shirt. Penton had a big chance in the 75th minute but missed the target. Our third substitution saw Matthew DeCapua replace goal-scorer Aidan Bozak.


Polling made another crucial save in the 87th minute off a Flower City header. In the 88th minute, we gave away a free kick, and DeCapua received a yellow card for kicking the ball away. In the 90th minute, Almeida scored a header to put Flower City ahead 2-1. We won a free kick but couldn't capitalize. Koval received a yellow card for dissent after disagreeing with the referee. Polling made another save to keep the game at 2-1 as we fought for an equalizer. Keegan Dawson received a yellow card for a tactical foul to stop a counterattack. Flower City scored a third goal through Dylan Rice after a counterattack following a long throw. DeCapua picked up a second yellow card for dissent, reducing us to nine men. The final score was 3-1.


Despite the early setbacks, the players gave their all to keep the game level and push for a second goal while playing a man down for sixty minutes. The winning goal for Flower City came in the 90th minute, adding a dramatic end to a fiercely contested match. Unfortunately, we couldn't secure a spot in the playoffs, but we couldn’t have asked any more of the boys who represented the crest in Rochester. This was the season's final match, and for the first time in the team's history, we didn't make the playoffs. However, we remain proud of our efforts, will learn from the experience, and build for the future. We want to thank our fans for supporting us throughout the season. Go Cleveland SC!


See you next season.

Danny Koniarczyk of Cleveland Soccer Club vs Flower City Union
Photo by Gary Wiggins

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