UTICA, NY - Utica City FC headed on the road to face off against the Milwaukee Wave to close out 2022 in a game that picked up in intensity as the minutes ticked off the clock. UCFC would end the year on the losing end, 9-7.
Despite leading in both possession and shots on goal, Utica City FC was unable to get on the board in the first quarter. Luan Oliveira opened the scoring for the Wave with a left-footed strike at 7:36 and Mario Alvarez widened the lead to 2-0 at 12:35. Cristhian Segura nearly got Utica in the board, but boomed a shot directly off of Milwaukee keeper William Banahene’s face.
UCFC turned the tide in the second quarter, scoring three consecutive goals in quick succession to give the road team the lead for the first time in the game. First, Nilton de Andrade was able to corral the ball through chaos and send it to captain Bo Jelovac, who buried the ball into an open net at 10:34 to get Utica on the board. Next, Gordy Gurson split the Wave’s wall on a free kick and found Joey Tavernese posted up on the back post to knot the game at 2-2 at 12:44. Finally, Juan Alava gave Utica the lead at 13:54 after banking the ball in off the wall and onto Banahene’s backside in an unorthodox wallascora goal. The Wave would not go into the locker room quietly as Ian Bennett found himself low in the box and tied the game up at 3-3 with just 17 seconds in the quarter.
After a scoreless start to the quarter, momentum shifted firmly to the Wave’s favor. All within the span of a minute: Bennett scored his second of the night off of a deflection to make it 4-3 at 06:10, Ian Crain scored eight seconds later to make it 5-3, and Ricky Alves was booked for his third blue card of the game on a holding call, resulting in a red card. Bennett danced his way to his third of the game and a hat trick on the ensuing power play to make it 6-3 Wave at 07:48. UCFC would turn it around following the widest deficit of the game as Gordy Gurson stopped Milwaukee’s momentum by finishing a wallascora from Joey Tavernese at 08:27 to make it 6-4. Nate Bourdeau would then bury a screamer on the power play to bring UCFC within one at 12:42. Bennett would continue his stunning offensive display, potting his fourth goal of the game at 13:59 to make it 7-5 Milwaukee.
Nilton de Andrade would find himself all alone on a breakaway to kick off the fourth quarter and bring UCFC within one, but Bennett would notch a staggering fifth goal of the game to make it 8-6. Former UCFC player Ben Ramin would net a bit of revenge, bumping the Wave’s lead to 9-6, but Segura would respond by finishing a sweet setup from Jelovac (9-7, 7:38). UCFC was unable to complete the comeback beyond that point.
Utica City FC’s next home game will be in the new year against Mesquite on January 7th at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available for that contest at uticacityfc.com/tickets.