HOME OPENER A SUCCESS FOR UTICA
Utica’s first taste of professional soccer was a sweet one.
In their inaugural season home opener, Utica City FC defeated defending champions Baltimore Blast by a final score of 5-2 under the cables of the Adirondack Bank Center. Those in attendance can attest to the high energy, volume, and level of talent prevalent in the building on Sunday afternoon. The team played an entertaining game, filled with physical plays and ball tricks, leaving everyone in the building wanting more.
During a pregame ceremony that mimicked what one may see in the Premier League in England, the two teams walked out of the Zamboni tunnel to a standing ovation from a packed house. As the game progressed, fans were instructed to follow along to a number of cheers and chants, led by both Joe Roberts (voice of the Utica Comets) and Dave, the leader of the City Keepers, Utica City FC’s official supporters’ group. The Viking clap, which Dave led through hitting his drum, was especially noteworthy, as almost the entire arena got on their feet and clapped their hands above their head to cheer on Utica City FC.
Sunday was also attendee’s first chance to get a real idea of what watching a game from the Corona Premier Biergarten would be like. The field-level area featured all-you-can-eat German food and the debut of City Pints – beer served in keepsake Utica City FC steins. As the game progressed, the Corona Premier Biergarten continued to fill, and even experienced some flying balls throughout the game. The Zetlin’s Lounge suite was also filled with Utica Comets players and their guests, who all raved about the experience and expressed their excitement to come back next week.
Perhaps one of the most memorable moments of the game was when Utica City FC forward Joey Tavernese scored his first goal on home turf and proceeded to grab a Peter Pan hat from the bench and “fly” around the turf. Tavernese is currently on the league leaderboard in goals with 3 in just two games.
The blue turf lit up the arena when the horn sounded, and Utica City FC remained undefeated through their first two games of the 2018-19 season. Immediately following the game, the entire roster of players paraded around the perimeter of the field, signing autographs and high-fiving fans – a tradition that will continue throughout the season.
While some of those in attendance may have been experiencing a professional soccer match for the first time, or even may have been unsure of the experience in general, Utica City FC has been the talk of the town in the week following the home opener. Season Ticket Members are thrilled to have 11 more games to anticipate, while the Adirondack Bank Center box office phone has been ringing off the hook.
If the home opener was any glimpse of what to expect this season, then Utica is in for a wild ride, driven by an extremely talented team who, more than anything, want to keep their undefeated streak alive.