Match Recap: Maryland Bobcats FC 1 - 0 Flower City Union - 4.1.2023

Maryland Bobcats FC Secure Three points at Home in Season Opener vs. Flower City Union
Published Apr 3, 2023

BOYDS, MD - Maryland Bobcats FC (MBFC) walked away from the 2023 NISA season opener with a convincing 1 - 0 victory over Flower City Union (FCU) in challenging weather conditions. 


The match was delayed roughly 30-45 minutes due to a weather delay from lighting within a ten mile radius of Maureen Hendricks Field. While the lighting eventually subsided, the wind prevailed and proved to be an ongoing challenge throughout the entirety of the game. 


Both sides went into their first match of the season with new head coaches and revamped squads filled with new and returning players. 


For Maryland, former player, former assistant coach, and President of the Youth Academy, Alex Kao would coach his first professional game as Head Coach of the Senior Team. The starting eleven saw the return of Captain Josselin Possian, Abdellah Mansour, Richard Forka, Manny Gonzalez, and Drew Wivell. 


New faces also joined the starters with Alex Sutton starting in net, Jimmy Filerman starting at left back, Jack Villatoro at right back, and Caleb Pritchett at striker. 


For Flower City, Jordan Sullivan would coach in his first match for the Western New York side that saw the return of Noah Cavanaugh to the starting lineup. Among the new faces, 2022 Golden Boot runner up, Alioune Diakhate started up top. 


The game started with both sides looking to make a statement early. Richard Forka is credited with the first shot on goal for MBFC. After a set piece was granted in the flower city box, the ball bounced around and after a headed pass by Abdellah Mansour, Forka struck the ball looking for the far post and FCU keeper Michael Mejia just got to it and made the save.


For FCU, both Luke Ferreira and Frederick Opoku would get shots on target that would go wide or be covered by Sutton. Additionally, Stephen Elias would also get his chance on goal for his new club in the first half. 


The first goal of the game came in the 38th minute. Darwin Espinal advanced the ball upfield and turned back to pass the ball to Josselin Possian. After Possian passed back to Espinal, the forward would find Jimmy Filerman waiting at the edge of the 18 yard box for a pass. Filerman back-heeled a pass to an overlapping Possian who caught the defense off guard and slotted it past the keeper for his first goal for MBFC. 


The first half ended with MBFC up 1 - 0 over the visiting team in a windy match. 


When the second half started, the only change came from MBFC with Elmer “Jack” Villatoro coming off for Maryland Native, Ryan Machado-Jones. 


As the game continued, FCU were doing all they could to equalize. Alioune Diakhate picked up the pace by getting in behind the MBFC defense and taking a shot on goal this was crucially saved by Alex Sutton. 


In the 68th minute, Flower City made their first two substitutions. Luke Ferreira and Frederick Opoku came off for Malik Stewart and Oscar Sanchez. 


Shortly after, MBFC made two more changes with Andrew Wivell and Abdellah Mansour came off for Iker Bustamante and Michael Akinkoye. 


As the game continued Flower City attempted to get the benefit of a tailwind to try and get an equalizing goal. Alex Sutton stood tall and continued to make crucial saves for the Bobcats. 


The last substitutions came in the 82nd minute with Caleb Pritchett coming off for Sam Solomon for Maryland. Flower City took off Alioune Diakhate and had Angelo Calfo check into the game. 


Bobcats midfielder, Michael Akinkoye would have a thrilling shot on goal to close out the match. As he dribbled upfield, Akinkoye saw Michael Mejia off his line and took a shot that thundered off the crossbar. 


As the final whistle blew, Bobcats walked away with a crucial three points to start the season in the windy and rainy conditions of the day. 


Next up, MBFC will host Ocean City Nor’Easters as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup returns to Maryland and the Maryland SoccerPlex on April 5th. Gates open at 6:00pm and kickoff is set for 7:00pm. 


Match Details: 


Maryland Bobcats FC: 

Sutton (GK); Filerman, Mansour (71’), Forka, Villatoro (45’); Kooistra, Gonzalez, Possian(c); Espinal, Pritchett(82’), Wivell (71’)


Subs: Sylvanus Eku Thompson (GK), Sam Solomon, Pierre Richard, Iker Bustamante (71’), Gavin Shiels, Phillip Brown, Ryan Machado-Jones (45’), Michael Akinkoye (71’) 


Bookings: Kooistra (65’)


Goals: Possian (34’)


Flower City Union:

Michael Mejia (GK); Kyle Nelson, Josue Cartagena, Noah Cavanaugh, Stephen Elias, Mumbi Kwesele; Frederick Opoku (68’), Malik Shaheed; Michael Cunningham,  Alioune Diakhate (82’), Luke Ferreira (68’) 


Subs: John Requejo Jr., Angelo Calfo (82’), Gabe Ortiz,  Logan Lee,  Oscar Sanchez (68’), Malik Stewart (68’), Mitchell Brickman 


Bookings: Cartagena (53’), Nelson (68), Cavanaugh (79)