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Utica City FC claims MASL playoff spot; Gurson notches another OT winner

Ben Birnell
Sports writer
email / twitter
Posted 3/27/23

The Major Arena Soccer League’s playoffs will include Utica City FC.

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Utica City FC claims MASL playoff spot; Gurson notches another OT winner


The Major Arena Soccer League’s playoffs will include Utica City FC.

Utica clinched one of the five Eastern Conference spots in the MASL’s Ron Newman Cup playoffs after splitting points Sunday with the Florida Tropics in Utica’s eventual 4-3 overtime win — league MVP candidate Gordy Gurson played a role again — in Lakeland, Florida.

It is the second time in two weeks in which Utica (12-10-1 overall) scored an overtime win over Florida. Utica won 5-4 in overtime March 12 at home.

This will be the first time Utica is in the playoffs since the 2018-19 season. There’s a caveat, though: There were no playoffs during the 2019-20 season due to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team did not participate in the altered and shortened 2021 season due to uncertainties and challenges because of the pandemic.

With Utica’s last regular-season game Saturday night at home, Utica (33 points) sits in fourth in the seven-team Eastern Conference. The team is one point ahead of Kanas City, which claimed the fifth and final spot Sunday.

According to the league: “the fourth and fifth seeds from each conference will play head-to-head in a play-in game hosted by the higher seeded team, unless otherwise agreed on by both teams.”

Utica’s final home game at 7:05 p.m. Saturday vs. rival Baltimore has some meaning in that a win would likely get Utica a home playoff game.

Florida, which has two games remaining, sits two points ahead of Utica in the standings.

On Sunday in overtime, co-captain Bo Jelovac had been dragged down in the penalty box. A minute of game time after officials confirmed the foul, Gurson got the ball near the boards just a few feet from the goal following a lob pass from Cristhian Segura near midfield.

While he was covered by a Florida defender, Gurson’s shot skittered along the boards and snuck through the legs of Hugo Silva (season-most 19 saves).

It was Gurson’s third overtime winner in his first season with Utica. Much like his OT winner earlier this month against Florida, Gurson ripped off his shirt as he celebrated the goal. He also put his finger to his lips to “quiet” the announced crowd of 1,155.

It was Gurson’s 21st goal —10th most in the MASL — and team-best 40th point. His total is fifth-most in the MASL.

Taylor Bond had Utica’s other goals as the team rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the third quarter. Bond scored early in the third to help send the game to overtime.

Bond, who was acquired in a trade with Harrisburg for cash considerations — has nine goals in 10 games with Utica.

Andrew Coughlin stopped 13 shots for Utica to improve to 12-9-1 overall.

Tickets remain for Saturday’s home finale at


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