Utica City FC scores pair of victories to reach 10 wins
Utica City FC notched a pair of key wins that helped the Major Arena Soccer League get back to a .500 record.
On Sunday, Gordy Gurson played the hero when he scored on a penalty kick with 3:06 remaining to help Utica rally and edge the Florida Tropics 5-4 at the Adirondack Bank Center.
The victory followed Utica topping the Harrisburg Heat 7-4 for its fifth straight win against the rival from Pennsylvania.
The wins pushed Utica’s record to 10-10 overall and briefly pushed the team into fourth place in the MASL’s standings. However, Kansas City topped Eastern Conference leader Milwaukee later in the day.
So, with four regular-season games remaining in the MASL season, Utica sits in fifth place in the East with 27 points. They are two points back for Kansas City and seven points ahead of sixth-place St. Louis.
It is notable because the fourth and fifth seeds from each conference will play a head-to-head play-in game when the playoffs begin in April.
Gurson sent the announced crowd of 3,312 into a frenzy when he drew a tripping penalty in overtime and then slipped the ball past Florida’s diving goalkeeper. Gurson, who leads the team with 19 goals and 37 points in his first season with Utica, ripped off his shirt as he celebrated the goal. He has more than 315 points in the MASL.
Asked in an on-field post-game interview what he was thinking as he smiled at the goalie before the shot, Gurson said “shirt’s coming off.”
Utica, which had its share of missed opportunities throughout the game, trailed 2-0 in the second quarter after a diving goal from former Utica fan favorite Joey Tavernese. Utica got one back back by Quenton Swift before the half.
Utica trailed 3-1 in the third quarter before turning up the pressuring and getting goals from Steven Fernandez and back-to-back tallies from co-captain Bo Jelovac to take a 4-3 lead. Jelovac has 19 points this season.
Andrew Coughlin totaled seven saves in 70 minutes.
On Friday, Utica never trailed while leading 2-0 before pushing it to 6-1 early in the fourth quarter. Baltimore got to within 6-4, but Swift added one late to help Utica.
Former Thomas R. Proctor standout Isaak Somow had two goals in the game in support of Coughlin, who had 15 stops.
Utica plays next weekend with a game Saturday at second-place Baltimore Blast before the last regular-season meeting against Harrisburg at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Adirondack Bank Center.
Note: This story is updated to reflect a time change for the team's game Sunday in Utica.
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