Andriy Demydiv finished with a brace for Rochester. (Photo courtesy of the Rochester Lancers)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Substitute Owen Bauer scored a late goal to spoil the Rochester Lancers’ final home game to give Syracuse FC a 3-2 National Premier Soccer League victory at Charles A. Schiano Sr. Field at Aquinas Institute on Sunday evening.
Bauer snapped a 2-2 tie in the 84th minute on a 20-yard blast from the left side to give Syracuse (1-2-3, 6 points) its first win ever over the Lancers (1-5-1, 4). Rochester had won its first six games against Syracuse, which had tallied only three goals this season entering the match.
It was the last home game for the outdoor Lancers, who have been sold to the Flower City Union, which will compete in the National Independent Soccer Association next spring. It is not known if Flower City will rebrand the NPSL team.
Forward Jake Pawlika, a freshman at Nazareth College, boosted the visitors into the lead in the 27th minute. After taking a pass from Issak Somow, Pawlika worked his way into the left side of the area, took a few steps toward the center before curling a shot past goalkeeper Brian Wilkin into the upper right 90.
Nine minutes later, the Lancers equalized. Dan Reger sent a right-flank feed to Andriy Demydiv, who fired home his first goal of the season from the middle of the box for a 1-1 deadlock in the 37th minute. It was Reger’s first point of the season.
Syracuse, however, took advantage of a Rochester defensive error in the 41st minute as Somow wound up as the recipient of the turnover for a 2-1 edge.
Demydiv wasn’t finished filling the net as he converted a left-wing pass from second-half substitute Frankie Ciliberto to knot things up at 2-2 in the 64th minute.
Both teams were denied by the woodwork later in the half. Francisco Pagano rammed a shot off the crossbar in the 70th minute. Minutes after a hydration break, Rochester’s Austin Gerber had a shot was deflected by a defender.
After Bauer recorded the go-ahead goal, Syracuse got had an opportunity to add an insurance goal as it was awarded a penalty kick after defender Alex Vega pulled down Owen Bauer by the shirt in the box. Jeorgio Kocevski took the kick and fired a shot to the lower right corner. Wilkin guessed correctly, blocking the shot before pouncing on the ball.
In a surprise move, Lancers head coach Doug Miller, the Lancers’ indoor and Rochester Rhinos’ goal-scoring hero, suited up as a starter. Miller, 52, who scored an outdoor goal for the Lancers in 2018 and tallied three times in two indoor games last year, did not score.
Because of the heat, the game needed four hydration breaks, two in each half. Game-time temperature was measured at 91 degrees with the artificial turf field reportedly close to 120 degrees.
In a special halftime ceremony, the Lancers awarded former team owner Charlie Schiano and trainer Joe Sirianni received their 1970 championship rings. During that season, the Lancers defeated the Washington Darts to capture the North American Soccer League title, 4-3, in the aggregate goals series.
Also during halftime, long-time Lancers defender and team captain Jake Schindler, who has performed for the club’s indoor and outdoor teams since 2011, was inducted into the Lancers Wall of Fame.
The Lancers have three road games remaining in the season. They meet Syracuse FC again on Monday, July 5 at 6 p.m. The following weekend, they will play back-to-back, visiting FC Buffalo on July 10 at 7 p.m. and at the Pittsburgh Hotspurs on July 11 at 5 p.m.
In the opening game of the doubleheader, the Lady Lancers dropped a 4-1 United Women’s Soccer decision to Syracuse DA.