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 Utica City FC

Utica City FC Forces Overtime; Falls to Kansas City in Game 1 of Conference Semifinals, 5-4

April 8, 2024 - Major Arena Soccer League (MASL)
Utica City FC News Release

Independence, MO - Utica City FC started off postseason play with an away trip to Kansas City. UCFC donned the 2-seed in the eastern conference, after posting a 16-7-1 regular season record. Cable Dahmer Arena hosted the first clash between the Comets and the City, and in a matchup that saw UCFC come back from a 4-1 deficit to push the game into overtime, it was the home side, Kansas City, that ended with the 5-4 victory.

The game started with a defensive pace, as both goalkeepers made saves to hold the score level. However, it was the home side that found 2 goals to open the scoring. First it was a through ball from Zach Reget to Ramone Palmer, and then it was Nacho Flores with a free-kick strike to put the Comets up by 2 at the 7:35 mark. Utica went to a high press and fired a few shots towards the KC net, but Nicolau Neto continued to stand tall in the net. Then, Kansas City found a way past the high press, and with a quick counterattack the Comets took a 3-0 lead into the first quarter break with a tap-in by Leonardo Acosta.

The second quarter mirrored the first-more defensive action between the two sides. The first goal of the quarter was right before the 12:00 mark, and it was UCFC debutant Kelvin Oliveira who found the back of the net. That strike made it 3-1, but KC grabbed another goal soon after with Rian Marques scoring. That pushed the game to 4-1, and that would be the scoreline going into halftime.

After the half, both teams stepped into a more physical game. With tackles flying left and right, it was Reget for the Comets who earned a blue card in the middle of the third. On the ensuing power play, Moh Ndiaye scored at the back post after a great feed from Nilton De Andrade. With 8:31 gone in the third, UCFC made it a two-goal game. Oliveira found another goal for Utica, turning his defender and slotting a ball into the bottom corner. In a flash, the score was now 4-3 in favor of the home side. Kansas City earned a shootout opportunity after Andrew Coughlin was called for handling the ball outside of the box. Backup goalkeeper Brian Wilkin and the UCFC defense stepped up as Flores missed the shootout attempt, and on the following penalty kill De Andrade had a 1-on-1 shorthanded opportunity saved by Neto. With both goalkeepers stepping up in a big way, the game would head to the fourth with Utica City FC trailing by one, 4-3.

With one goal to make up in the fourth, the new kid on the block for UCFC continued to step up. Oliveira found Gordy Gurson with a backheel pass through the legs of his defender, and Gurson finished to tie the game at 4-4 with 14 minutes left in regulation. At the 10:41 mark in the fourth, KC had a goal disallowed due to a handball on Christian Anderaos as he attempted to chest the ball down into the net. The scores held level at four at the end of regulation, and the teams were headed for overtime. It only took 26 seconds in OT for the game to end, with Flores making an acrobatic finish at the back post to give KC a 1-0 series lead heading into next week.

Utica continues the postseason with Game 2 (and the Game 3 knockout game) against Kansas City next week on Monday, April 15th. The game kicks off at 6:05 pm EST-tickets for the matchup are available at

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