The Royals secured the club’s second all-time U.S. Open Cup win and earned their first point of the NPSL season in an eventful first week of play.
The midweek Open Cup match in Iowa saw the men in blue defeat PDL powerhouse Des Moines Menace 3-1 with two goals in the last minute of action from Chris Cvecko & Reymar Klochko. The result increased AFC Cleveland’s Open Cup record to 2-1 between their 2016 and 2017 appearances, and the Royals are now 2-0 against PDL opponents in the competition. As a result of the Round 1 victory, AFC Cleveland will take part in an I-71 derby against USL’s FC Cincinnati in the Round 2 tie Wednesday, May 17 at Nippert Stadium.
Admir Suljevic (PK), Chris Cvecko, and Reymar Klochko were the goalscorers on the night. Klochko’s stoppage time goal would be his first as an AFC Cleveland Royal. Another notable first was an assist by newly acquired left-back Ian Larson, who was making his first appearance with the club.
Cvecko had a particularly monster week and was named Nooma Man of the Match for both of the Royals first two games. In addition to the game-winning goal against the Menace, Cvecko found the net twice against Dayton Dynamo. Both goals would be go-ahead tallies in the league-opening draw against the Dayton side.
Vinny Bell would also score a crowd-pleasing chip shot nearly 30 yards from goal in AFC Cleveland’s 3-3 draw against Dayton Dynamo. Though the Royals created more chances in the final third compared to the Dynamo, Dayton overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit and rescued a point at Stan Skoczen Stadium. The Royals will look to capture three points in Dayton Friday, May 26 in the reverse fixture.
Coach Sesar and the rest of his squad will now turn their attention to their highly-anticipated matchup with FC Cincinnati Wednesday night before the club travels to Syracuse, NY on Saturday, May 20 to continue NPSL play.
Regular season tickets and passes to June’s Steinbrecher Cup at Stan Skoczen Stadium remain available at afccleveland.com/tickets.
Photo Credit: Brent Durken / 6th City Photography