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Nerves of Steel: Going the distance, Steel City FC advance to Midwest Region Final in PK shootout

photo courtesy John Krysinsky / Pittsburgh Soccer Now

After more than 120 minutes of action in the run of play, Steel City FC came through with nerves of steel in a penalty kick shootout to defeat Med City FC, 0-0 (6-5) in the National Premier Soccer League Midwest Region Semifinal on Friday evening in Indianola, Iowa.

The Pittsburgh-based club remained unbeaten on the season (11-0-3), by taking the shootout that went seven rounds, by a 6-5 margin.

“I feel like we deserved the win,” Nicky Kolarac, team captain, shared with Pittsburgh Soccer Now following the win.

“We carried the play, but could not finish, ultimately. The boys pushed in extra time.”

With the victory, Steel City now awaits the winner of the other semifinal between Tulsa Athletic and regional host Des Moines United FC.  The Midwest Region Final will be played on Saturday at 7 p.m.  In addition, by earning a spot in the National Tournament’s quarterfinal round (Midwest Region Final), Steel City FC have earned a bid to enter the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup proper tournament.

Steel City FC players converting on their penalty chances included Ryan Landry, Ryan Mertz, Justin Kopay, Michael Sullivan, Nick Graeca and Bryan Akongo.

Akongo, a rising junior at Robert Morris University, went to his right, to bury his shot, putting pressure on Med City FC, which couldn’t convert in the seventh round.

Posting the clean sheet in the run of play, was goalkeeper Garrett Watson, who also made one save in the shootout.

“We were confident in our goalkeeper and kick takers,” Kolarac said.

“In the end, we got the result, and we’re moving on to the Regional Championship. The boys are buzzing, and we’ll be ready for tomorrow!”


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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