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Pittsburgh Hotspurs eliminated by Cleveland SC, 4-0, in NPSL Quarterfinal

File Photo courtesy Ed Thompson
NPSL Midwest Regional Quarterfinal

Final:  Cleveland SC 4, Pittsburgh Hotspurs 0

The Pittsburgh Hotspurs men’s senior team’s season came to a crashing halt in a 4-0 loss to Cleveland SC in the NPSL Quarterfinal round on Tuesday night at George Finnie Stadium in Berea, Ohio on the campus of Baldwin Wallace University.

Within three minutes, Cleveland took control of the match, as Vinny Bell scored to give the hosts the early lead.

The Hotspurs stuggled to connect passes through the midfield, playing very direct when trying to get forward. Some of the brightest moments for Pittsburgh came early in the match when generating a pair of service opportunities from captain Nicky Kolarac, but neither could connect.

Cleveland though, continued to mount pressure, as eventually capitalized again on a persistent effort in the 27th minute.

After a first shot attempt banged off the crossbar, Alec Nagucki was there at the top of the box to fire home a brilliant strike to put Cleveland up 2-0.

Tom Beck would add another Cleveland goal in the 53rd minute, then the home side would cap the night with a Smith Pepper tally in the 89th minute.

Pittsburgh Soccer Now reached out for postgame reaction from Hotspurs Head Coach Tom Campbell and/or players, but they were already traveling back and not available for comments.

“Cleveland always fields a strong side. Tonight was no different. The boys showed up, but couldn’t recover from a few mistakes. It hurts. The boys are no doubt, disappointed. They wanted it this year.  We’ll take a short break, and we’ll be back.  Some of the lads will head back to their college teams this week. Some of the senior lads will keep fit, playing locally.  And, we’ll definitely be back,” Hotspurs’ General Manager Marikaye DiTemple said after the match tonight.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. 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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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