UTICA CITY FC WINS INAUGURAL GAME IN THRILLING FASHION
Harrisburg, Pa. – Utica City FC came from behind to defeat the Harrisburg Heat 9-7 Saturday night at the PA Farm Show Arena. Slav Ubiparipovic, Joey Tavernese, and Ben Ramin all scored twice and goalkeeper Andrew Coughlin made 15 saves.
Harrisburg controlled play in the first quarter. William Eskay put the Heat up 5:45 into the first quarter. Utica was outshot 7-1 in the opening 15 minutes.
Domenic Francis pushed the lead to 2-0, lobbing a shot over the head of goalkeeper Andrew Coughlin early in the second quarter. Two minutes later, Mohamed Kenawy scored the first goal in Utica City history to bring the deficit to one. Tom Mellor scored to put Harrisburg back up by one, but Ramin responded 10 seconds later. David Villela regained Harrisburg’s two-goal lead with just over three minutes to play in the first half.
Logan Roberts took a slick pass from Nate Bourdeau and ran down the wing and fired a shot past the keeper to bring Utica City back to within one. Villela responded a minute later to restore Harrisburg’s two-goal lead once again. Ubiparipovic booted a missile past goalkeeper William Banahene to make it 5-4. Mellor scored his second of the night on the power play minutes later. Nate Bourdeau and Joey Tavernese hooked up to bring Utica within one again to end the third quarter.
Tavernese evened the game two minutes into the fourth quarter after a beautiful setup from Ubiparipovic. Ricardo Carvalho put Harrisburg back on top with a strike halfway through the fourth. Ubiparipovic knotted things up at seven with a beautiful inside move and finish with the right leg. Ramin gave Utica their first lead of the night with 4:56 to go, converting on a beautiful feed from Tavernese. Tavernese scored the empty net goal with under a minute to play to secure the win.
Utica City FC returns to action tomorrow afternoon for the home opener. Soccer Sunday kicks off at the Adirondack Bank Center at 2pm. Tickets are available at the Box Office or at www.empirestatetix.com. The game can be streamed live on Masl.tv.