UTICA, NY – Utica City FC celebrated the holiday season in a home matchup against Baltimore Blast on Friday night. Utica improved their winning streak to five straight Ws, beating Baltimore by a score of 5-2. 

In an arena packed with electrified fans, Utica started off strong with two goals scored by Dylan Hundelt and Ronaldinho Diniz 89 seconds and 1:49 into the matchup, putting Utica in the lead. After putting up a strong defense, Steven Fernandez would find the back of the net through an assist by Cole Stephens scoring the third goal of the game with 8:19 remaining in the first quarter. Baltimore would remain off the scoreboard for the entirety of the quarter, with Utica in the lead 3-0 to start off the matchup. 

The second quarter began with a slow start with neither Utica or Baltimore making it onto the scoreboard. Nearly 28 minutes after the third goal, Utica would bring the score to 4-0 with a goal made by Juan Alava. An assist made by Taylor Walter Bond, gave the opportunity for Diniz to score his second goal of the game, bringing the score to 5-0, with 8:46 remaining in the second quarter. With 4:22 remaining, Utica found themselves on a power play, after a penalty was called on Joshio Sandoval of Baltimore, but were unsuccessful in finding themselves on the scoreboard during the power play. Baltimore would score their first goal of the game, scored by Josh Hughes, with two seconds remaining in the second quarter, finishing the quarter with a score of 5-1. 

Coming back from the halftime break, things calmed down in the third quarter, as neither team found themselves on the scoreboard. Baltimore kept up a strong offense to start things off. Utica answered back by putting up a strong defense, resulting in no goals for Batlimore. With only .4 left on the clock, another penalty was called on Sandoval of Baltimore, which ended the third quarter, with the score still at 5-1. 

Starting off the last quarter of the game still on the power play, Utica attempted to score 75 seconds into the quarter, but it would be saved by Baltimore goalie Michael Zierhoffer. With 4:25 left of the game, Baltimore would leave their goalie box empty, bringing in a sixth attacker. A penalty call on Utica goalie Andrew Coughlin, with 4:06 remaining in the game, would give Baltimore an indirect kick, which would result in no goal for Baltimore. Moises Gonzalez would later find the back of the net with 3:57 left on the clock, making the score 5-2. No other goals would be scored for the quarter, with Utica taking the 5-2 victory. 

Utica City FC will ring in the New Year for their next game with a New Year’s Eve matchup against the Harrisburg Heat at the Adirondack Bank Center on Sunday, December 31st at 3 PM. Tickets for that match are available at ucfctickets.com.

Article written by Kiley Wren.