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Sullivan, Mertz goals lead Steel City FC in NPSL opening 2-1 win vs Akron City

File photo courtesy Ed Thompson

In its first match as a rebranded club in the National Premier Soccer League, Steel City FC defeated Akron City FC, 2-1, last Saturday at Founders Field, in Cheswick.

The former Pittsburgh Hotspurs FC are now Steel City FC, but feature many familiar faces to Pittsburgh soccer fans on its roster, as the club includes a number of current Pittsburgh-based college players along with additional players who are out of college and former pros.

All of the goal scoring in the opener came in a 10-minute burst at the end of the first half.

Getting off on a good foot for Steel City FC, current Pitt rising junior, Michael Sullivan opened the scoring by converting a penalty kick in the 36th minute.  The penalty was set up when Duquesne rising senior Tate Mohney drew a foul on the left side of the box.

Akron responded immediately when Akron Zips alum Jaden Wright tapped home into an empty goal on the back post in the 37th minute.

Steel City closed out the scoring, as former Upper St. Clair and University of Delaware standout Ryan Mertz hit the game-winner when he sent a shot from the top of the box that took a few deflections around the box, and into goal.

With the win, Steel City FC begin the season unbeaten in the NPSL’s Great Lakes Division, where once again they’ll compete in the Midwest Region.

In the previous two seasons, as the Pittsburgh Hotspurs, the club finished second to FC Cleveland, who they’ve built a rivalry with some intense matches.  Cleveland also opened NPSL league play with a win this past weekend, as both teams currently sit atop the league table.

Steel City FC, with Dan Brower serving as the team’s Head Coach, will return to action on Friday night, when they host Columbus FC, at 7 p.m. at Founders Field.

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).

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Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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