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Steel City FC drop close match to Cleveland Ambassadors, 3-2

Steel City FC drop close match to Cleveland Ambassadors, 3-2

Steel City FC had a change of location for their match on Friday night against the Cleveland Ambassadors.

Although listed as a home match, Steel City FC ventured up north to Edinboro University. The club normally hosts matches at the Ellis School in Pittsburgh.

Cleveland didn’t travel far for the match either. The Twinsburg, Ohio, based club is close to two hours away from the Pennsylvania State Athletics System (PSAC) college.

Steel City FC dropped the match, 2-3.

However, despite the loss, Amanda Miller, of Fordham University, scored Steel City FC’s two goals. After the match, Tom Ovenden, Steel City FC head coach, said Miller was a “handful” for Cleveland.

“She started off having a real battle with their centerbacks,” Ovenden explained. “They were getting a little bit of the better of her, but we weren’t getting the ball in very good spaces. It was the best all around performance for sure from Amanda, from defending to attacking and bringing everyone in the game.”

Both of Miller’s goals occurred in the second half.

In the first half, Cleveland scored all three of their goals. According to Ovenden, two of the goals were “soft” goals given up by Steel City FC.

Lani Smith, Anna Rico and Kati Druzina scored for Cleveland.

The team we played was in top quality, but we gave them two soft goals,” Ovenden said. “The way we started the game was brilliant. After Cleveland’s goals, we were wondering how it happened. We were doing very well, and the other team had some good play, but we really grew into the game well.”

“I said at the end of the game to the girls, how every adjustment we made got carried out to the team. It was excellent.”

Ovenden explained how his style of play is traditional, but to others it seems risky.

“It would be really easy to balk at something and say, ‘I don’t want to accept a new idea,’” Ovenden said. “The way the girls embrace what I’m giving them has been really pleasing.”

Steel City now sits with a record of 2-3-0. Ovenden said that for only training for four weeks, he is “pleased” in the terms of how the club is playing.

“I think we stacked the schedule and played pretty much all the top teams at the beginning,” Ovenden said. “It’s a learning process. I’m really enjoying it. It’s been pretty good so far.”

Both goalkeepers head up north

Lauren Malcolm faced an injury keeping her home for last weekend’s road matches against AAFC Lumberjills and Motor City FC.

However, the freshman goalkeeper has returned. She still remains behind Jessica Neill on the depth chart, but has learned plenty from the sideline.

Ovenden said he talked to Malcolm before the match saying that it was Neill’s “shirt right now,” but that Malcolm still was open to competition.

“Jess did very well again tonight,” Ovenden said. “Lauren has been very professional about it and a good level of sport athlete. She’s gone on with it and lets Jess do her thing. The injury was bad timing for her. I was really pleased that she came and she sees what she’s trying to do.”

Ovenden also said that Malcolm has been “brilliant” with her attitude.

What’s Next?

There are no midweek matches for Steel City FC, so the team will have time to recover and train for their next test.

Steel City FC will travel to face Cincinnati Sirens FC on Saturday, June 23. The match will be played at Lakota West High School and will begin at 5 p.m. ET.

Steel City then finishes the season with a road test against the Empire Revs on July 7 and return home for their final match on July 8 against the Columbus Eagles FC.

The sport of soccer is Rachael McKriger's area of expertise. McKriger covers Steel City FC for Pittsburgh Soccer Now and provides various columns. Elsewhere, McKriger covers the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC for Pittsburgh Sports Castle. Her coverage expanded to Last Word on Soccer in March 2018, where she began National Women's Soccer League coverage and U.S. Women's National Team reporting. A May 2018 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, McKriger is currently enrolled in graduate school at Point Park University.

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