UTICA, NY - Utica City FC traveled on the road looking to continue their undefeated streak in the 2022-23 season against their Eastern Conference foe, Harrisburg Heat. They were successful and were able to eke out a 6-5 win.
It didn’t take long for the Heat open the scoring as Alejandro Chavez gave Harrisburg an early 1-0 lead just 2 minutes and 35 seconds into the contest. The early goal served as a wakeup call for Utica as they dominated possession through the rest of the quarter, finding the back of the net directly off of a Gordy Gurson restart at 9:38.
The second quarter opened with a wild sequence of strange goals. A Harrisburg player took a shot that chunked the ball but magically found its way to former Utica City FC player Andrew Hoxie. He finished a no-doubter off of his left foot from in close to put the Heat up 2-1. Immediately as play resumed, a Harrisburg player tripped over the ball, leaving Quenton Swift wide open to bury the tying goal for Utica a staggering 16 seconds after Hoxie’s goal. Steven Fernandez took a 3-2 lead for Utica for the first time in the game after a ball ricocheted off of both the Heat goalie and defender in the box. After a creatively designed decoy play off a restart in a dangerous area, Bo Jelovac was able to pull off an incredible scorpion kick goal to make it a 4-2 Utica lead.
Cristhian Segura opened the second half in typical fashion, placing a pinpoint strike in the top corner of the net to widen the UCFC lead to 5-2, but Stephen Basso countered just 10 seconds later to bring the Heat within two goals. The Heat drew closer as Malcolm Harris unleashed a scorcher while on the powerplay to bring the home squad within one goal at 4:36. Fernandez would tally his second goal of the game three minutes after for Utica, making it 6-4 UCFC. Late in the third quarter, Matt Braem scored a fortunate trickler through Andrew Coughlin, inching closer to regaining the lead.
Outside of some fireworks in between quarters between both teams, neither team was able to find the back of the net in the final frame to secure the 6-5 win for Utica City FC. Both Andrew Coughlin and Gordy Gurson had highlight-reel worthy stops within the final five minutes to prevent Harrisburg from clawing their way back.
Utica City FC squares off next against the rival Baltimore Blast at home on Sunday, February 26th. Tickets are available at ucfctickets.com.