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Steel City FC Fall To AF Cleveland, 3-0, in Home Opener

imagePittsburgh’s women’s soccer team — Steel City FC fell to AF Cleveland, 3-0, on Wednesday in their home opener at Ellis School in Shadyside.
Goalkeeper Katie Montgomery, who plays currently at Youngstown State University (YSU), did her best to keep the Steel City ladies in the game for most of the match.
Montgomery was tested early — and often by a strong AF Cleveland attack.
She surrendered an early goal in the 8th minute after coming off the line to make a save on a Sarah Krause shot. Krause was able to evade Montgomery, get to the rebound and put it into the goal for the early lead.
After the early goal, Montgomery made more than a dozen stops, including three or four highlight reel saves that kept Steel City in the match until the late stages.
I had a chance to speak with all three co-coaches of SCFC, Kelly Mehalko, Betsy Warren and Blair Gantz after the match. Here’s the video of the interview:

Unfortunately for the home side, they struggled to sustain a consistent attack — and best advances deep into the attacking third were mostly on counters thanks to some good work by some local players of note including Janson Hartmann (North Hills/Edinboro), Kyler Lum (YSU), Amanda So (CMU), Bethany Smyda (Penn Trafford/CalU) and Lauren Miller (Penn Trafford/Allegheny).
Instead of sustaining an attack, many of the midfielders and forwards found themselves tracking back to keep a strong defensive shape to ward off the Cleveland’s pressure.
The score remained 1-0 until the late stages when Cleveland scored twice more — including a breakaway goal by Krause in the 78th minute.
Steel City finally had their best chance of the night when Angela Baroffio received a terrific through ball and drilled a shot that beat Kaliegh Piscioneri but bounced off the bar. Baroffio had a chance to put the rebound back into goal but her header didn’t connect.
Cleveland added a goal in stoppage time by Julie Gavorski, extending the final score to 3-0.
Steel City FC (0-2-0) are playing in a new conference following their successful debut season in which they rolled to a 7-2-1 record, and in the early going, they’ve been tested.  SCFC will now have a chance to get more training in before playing again — a return match at home (at Ellis School in Shadyside) against Detroit on Saturday, June 4 at 1 p.m.  Detroit won the first match on Sunday 1-0.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, and more. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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