The fierce rivalry between Cleveland and Pittsburgh’s sports teams is one of the best in the country, and two new chapters will be written into their history as AFC Cleveland and Fort Pitt Regiment face each other twice in one weekend. The Royals host the Regiment at Stan Skoczen Stadium Friday night for a 7:30 kickoff before traveling to Pittsburgh Sunday for an away rematch.
Since winning their first game 1-0 to the Rochester Lancers, Ft. Pitt has spun their wheels in league play, losing five matches in a row heading into the weekend. AFC Cleveland’s weekend opponents sit last in the Midwest East Conference table, and have only scored twice in six NPSL matches.
The Royals can not afford to take the Regiment lightly, however, as they need all six points to keep pace with clubs ahead of them in the table. AFC Cleveland sit seven points behind the Erie Commodores and Rochester Lancers, and ten points behind Dayton Dynamo, with games in hand against Rochester and Dayton.
The AFC Cleveland squad hopes to use a lighter second-half schedule to their advantage as they make a push for the NPSL playoffs. The club was happy to participate in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Hank Steinbrecher Cup, which ran concurrent with the first six matches of AFC Cleveland’s NPSL schedule, but can now concentrate solely on their remaining six NPSL opponents.
The Royals will also be boosted by two new additions, Gianluca DiFranco and Alec Nagucki. DiFranco has already started with the club in last weekend’s friendly against Team Challenger FC, where he impressed on his debut with a game-opening goal in the 23′. Nagucki also has one start after being selected in a 3-0 loss to Rochester Lancers.
Tickets for Friday’s edition of AFC Cleveland vs Ft. Pitt Regiment are still available at afccleveland.com/tickets. Also don’t forget to follow live game updates on our website and Twitter page @AFCCleveland.
Photo Credit: T.J. Powell