Tonight’s Game: Utica City FC opens up the 2019-20 season on the road against the Baltimore Blast. Kickoff at SECU Arena is at 7:35 p.m. Fans are encouraged to head to 72 Tavern and Grill for the season opening watch party.

Head to Head: This will be the first of four matchups between Baltimore and Utica this season. The two teams tied last year’s series, with each team winning three game apiece. Utica outscored the Blast 32-24 last year. Utica was eliminated in the First Round by Baltimore in an upsetting third minigame. 

Scouting the Blast: Baltimore finished last season with a 17-7 record, finishing second in the Eastern Division. The Blast return all of their top three scorers from last season, led by Jonatas Melo with 41 points, Vini Dantas with 31 points, and Tony Donatelli with 29 points. Goalkeeper William Vanzela also returns for Baltimore. He finished the year with a 15-6 record, a 4.09 goals-against average, and a .753 save percentage.

Dynamic Duo: New acquisitions Moises Gonzalez and Diego Zuñiga will be a pair to keep an eye on for Utica City this season. Gonzalez posted 30 goals and 44 points last season with the Rio Grande Valley Barracudas. He is also fresh off a WMF World Cup Championship with Mexico, where he was named Tournament MVP. Zuñiga also played with RGV last season, scoring 22 goals in 24 games for the Barracudas. In 2017, Zuniga won the Golden Ball award for best player in CONCACAF futsal. 

Locked In: If you think Bo had a big year last year, just wait. The captain is poised for another big season after tallying nine multi-point efforts on his way to a career high 20 goals and 32 points in 20 games last season. With the captain making the full time move to forward, he could very well shatter those numbers this season.

MoMo’s Debut: Uroš Momic spent the 2018-19 season on Utica City’s practice squad and is now ready to make his official arena debut. General Manager Tommy Tanner said Momic is a very technical player with an ability to beat players off the dribble. He most recently played outdoor with the Rochester Lancers in the NPSL, scoring five goals in 12 matches.

Core Returners: Even with a plethora of fresh faces, the core from last year’s team still remains intact. Andrew Coughlin returns to the goal after a career best 17-6-1 record and a 4.74 goals-against average. MASL Defender of the Year Darren Toby and his partner-in-crime Jake Schindler return to Utica’s back line along with Ben Ramin and Logan Roberts, Utica’s Breakout Player of the Year last season. Liam Callahan and Nate Bourdeau return to the midfield where the two combined for 25 goals and 45 points. Captain Bo Jelovac looks to build on a career season up front. The big man posted 20 goals and 32 points in 20 games last season.

New Additions: Utica City announced yesterday that the team had signed defenders Domenico Vitale and Vittorio Petrera, along with target forward Tim Goldman to round out the team’s roster. Goldman enters his first season in the MASL, while Vitale played in 17 games last season, tallying five points (3-2-5) and 16 blocked shots. Petrera suited up in 18 games with Utica last year, scoring one goal and blocking two shots.

Next Game: Utica City returns to action Sunday afternoon when they host the Blast in their home opener. Kickoff at the Adirondack Bank Center is at 2pm. Tickets are still available at the Box Office, over the phone by calling (315) 790-9070, or online at www.empirestatetix.com. The game can be viewed on MASL.tv.