Utica, NY Utica City FC hosted the Empire Strykers on Sunday afternoon for the second of back-to-back home games. At the half the game was tied at two, one of three ties throughout the day. Empire pulled away late and topped Utica City 8-5. The blue and white will play again at home next Sunday for a 2pm game against the St. Louis Ambush


Utica City went down early 2-0 early. First, Empire’s Adrien Perez made a nice move at the top of the box, came down the left side and scored at 7:39 of the 1st. Following that up two minutes later, Franck Tayou tucked one in the back door off a sly pass from Justin Stinson to make it 2-0 at the end of the first.


UCFC took control in the second quarter. Stephen Fernandez would strike for Utica City to begin the second. He tried to shoot and got his own rebound off a blocked shot, then buried it to make it 2-1. Juan Alava had a similar goal just a few minutes later. He shot one that missed off to the left, came off the wall and back to him at the top of the box. Alava made that shot count, and buried it past Empire keeper Chris Toth to tie the game. At the half it was 2-2.


Just as it was last night, the third quarter was a back and forth affair. Empire took a 4-2 lead off of goals from Jesus Pacheco and Juan Topete. Utica City found the answers though. First, Bo Jelovac created a turnover at the yellow line in Utica City’s attacking end. He lifted the ball over Toth and made it a 4-3 game. Two minutes later, Joey Tavernese got the equalizer. He took a pass off the wall from Gordy Gurson and tucked it home to tie the game at four.


Empire got the go ahead goal early in the 4th. Topete snuck his second of the game past Andrew Coughlin and made it 5-4. UCFC tied it thanks to Issak Somow. The Utica, NY product made a nifty move down the left ally and flicked the ball over a defender and the goalkeeper. His celebration made Utica City fans go wild. Adrian Perez’s rifle from the right side gave Empire the lead again at 5:08 of the 4th. The Strykers got late insurance goals from Perez and Aiden James to seal an 8-5 win.


Utica City returns home next Sunday, January 15th at 2pm against the St. Louis Ambush. Tickets are still available at uticacityfc.com/tickets.