From Pittsburgh City United Report and photos courtesy Ed Thompson
Pittsburgh City United’s inaugural season ended in heartbreak, surrendering goals twice to Sure Sports in the final four minutes to end an impressive first season run with a 3-2 defeat in the semifinal round of the UPSL Beltway North Playoffs.
The match opened up with an opening goal by Rufus Holmes of Sure Sports in the 22nd minute of play. City United would tie the game just before the half with a goal from newly signed Samuel Papafio off a corner, that was deflected in the center back’s direction in the 42nd minute of play.
City United would come storming back with multiple quality chances at goal until Mathew Teitelbaum scored his 8th goal of the season in the 62nd minute with an excellent effort in the box off a deflection from the goalkeeper making the score 2-1.
Pittsburgh City United followed the goal with several more quality chances by striker Jonvier Ramson another new signee, but the Carlow leading scorer was unable to capitalize.
City United looked to be just minutes from a trip to the Beltway North Final when a penalty by Enrique Amador just outside the box would see the star center back sent off at the 87th minute. Sure Sports midfielder Christian Obodo tied the game soon after with a quality strike from the free kick, tying the game at 2-2, with a man advantage due to the red card going into the final minutes.
The game appeared to be going into extra time when Sure Sports striker Chikezi Nnamadi Umunna scored the game winning goal in the second minute of extra time to take a 3-2 lead.
A testament to their never give up mentality, City United immediately answered by driving the ball into the offensive third, finishing the game with a final attempt by team captain Jett Blaschka that just lifted over the crossbar ending the remarkable first season for the world’s first soccer team in the top 4 divisions to partner with the Alzheimer’s Association and mandate protective headgear for their players.
City United finished their first full season with a record of 7-3-3, with two of those loses coming in the second half by a single goal.
“The constant trials and tribulations of this season and these players ability to persevere time and time again with the understanding that we were here with a purpose beyond the pitch is a testament to their epic hearts and genuine integrity as human beings,” Michael Monsour Jr., Club Owner and Head Coach, said.
“The level of trust and support from the players for this club and this mission exceeded my greatest expectations and they showed not only myself but the community time and time again, that this approach to the beautiful game, is one that should be recognized as a necessity not only in soccer or European football but in every sport and franchise across this globe. Pittsburgh City United has reached millions of fans and neutrals from around the world through our efforts in just 5 months of existence showing that as sports organizations we can make a difference in this world and enhance our quality of performance in the process.”
Monsour added: “Our next chapter will include the launch of our City United Youth Development Academy and the purchase of a parent club in Europe to improve transfer opportunities for our players as well as expand the protective headgear mandate and awareness for Alzheimers. This expansion is now the primary club focus of Coach Barry Smith and myself and through these players exceptional effort this season and the ongoing growth in support from the global community, This next chapter could make an even greater impact on the lives of the tens of millionsof people suffering from the Alzheimers disease.“