UTICA CITY FC DEFEATS #1 EASTERN CONFERENCE SEED MILWAUKEE WAVE, 7-5
Utica City FC hosted the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Wave in front of an enthusiastic and vocal crowd– to the delight of the home faithful, UCFC came out on top in a tightly-contested match, 7-5.
In a surprisingly defensive first quarter, the Wave struck first as Luan Oliveira combined with Derek Huffman to put the visiting side up 1-0 with 7 minutes into the 1st quarter. With a little over 2 minutes left in the quarter, Mario Alveraz hit a strike off the post to put the Wave up 2-0. Despite being outshot 8-2, the visitors found themselves on top in the early going.
Action kicked off with UCFC fighting back to even the score, focusing on increasing their possession to gain momentum. Steven Hernandez laid a ball off to Logan Roberts who found the bottom corner to bring it back to 2-1 for Utica. The Wave outshot UCFC but were unable to get on the board before closing out the half.
Both teams battled fiercely to open the second half. UCFC captain Bo Jelovac sent a ball to Gordy Gurson, who was the recipient of a bounce off a Wave player to knot the game at 2-2. The homeside continued the offensive push taking advantage of a power play– Gurson found Cristhian Segura for a powerful volley to put UCFC up 3-2. The Wave responded with a goal of their own from Kyle Crain to bring it back to 3-3. The action continued with Steven Fernandez threading the needle on a pass to Nilton Andrade who tapped it in to give UCFC their first lead of the game, 4-3. The Wave ended the quarter on a strong power play goal from Alex Bradley assisted by Ian Bennett.
Motivated by the cheers of the home crowd, the 4th quarter began with UCFC pulling ahead. Nate Bourdeau potted a shorthanded goal after an errant pass from the keeper left him all alone in the slot, putting UCFC up 5-4. The Wave continued to show fight with their backs against the wall as Oliveira found Bradley at top of the box to level the game at 5-5. Jelovac once again came up clutch, finding Issak Somow for a one-time finish to take a 6-5 lead. UCFC went on to put the finishing touch on the game with a gritty goal in the box from Dylan Hundelt capping off the final score at 7-5.
Utica City FC returns to home turf next Sunday, February 26th against the Baltimore Blast. Tickets are available at ucfctickets.com.