ACFC to compete in first ever cup competition against Northern Indiana FC

 ACFC enters the cup in the quarterfinal round, needing two wins to compete in the championship

Writer: Sideline and Beat Reporter, Cade Cracas

Akron, Ohio- Where a return to cup play welcomes high-level play and single-game elimination. Each touch, each shot and every moment is important.

Akron City FC (ACFC) will pay host to Northern Indiana FC (NIFC) at Green Street Stadium on Sunday, June 12. They will take on one another in the quarterfinal round of the USASA Amateurs Cup in Region II.

"After a tough game on Friday night we will have to freshen some things up but will still have a good group of players who have earned opportunities.," said ACFC Head Coach Andy Hoggarth.

On Friday, May 31, ACFC hosted Steel City FC, one of the top teams in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). With high hopes of finding an upset, ACFC fell, 2-1, at home.

“Sunday’s game will be nice to get out of the league,” Hoggarth said after the loss. "It is another competition now and we have the chance to put things right.

“It is nice to come out Sunday and try to put the loss behind us.”

The contest was widely regarded as a back-and-forth, high-intensity outing that showcased elite level play. For ACFC, one player who shined was forward Sam Sarver who has now found a goal in back-to-back games.

His quickness up top for ACFC will be crucial on Sunday.

However, with just two days to rebound and return to full form, ACFC will have a quick turnaround to take on NIFC.

"We always expect the lads to come out with a high intensity and respond from Fridays game," Hoggarth said. "We are really looking forward to getting back on the pitch."

Through the opening three games to start the 2024 campaign, the club is 1-2, with a 6-0 win highlighting their start to the season. That win came against Michigan Rangers FC back on Saturday, May 25.

Northern Indiana FC

NIFC is led by Head Coach Gerardo Mascareño, who joined the team with a wealth of prior professional experience.

As a player, Mascareño competed in the Mexican First Division with teams such as Puebla, Atlante, Atlas, Chivas, Pachuca, Morelia and Leon. Through 300 games, he scored 42 total goals. 

The roster itself has been carefully crafted and honed in hopes of taking a step up in the Midwest Premier League. To kickstart their season, they have found four-straight wins with a goal differential of 11 goals allowed and just five given up. 

They enter the USASA Amateurs Cup with top level play on the pitch formulating in hopes of going far. 

ACFC will look to play spoilers to an unbeaten start to the season for NIFC, and advance to the semi-final round of the cup with a win.

"As an Englishman I grew up around cup competitions and really enjoy the win and advance excitement from a single game scenario," Hoggarth said. "We will be doing everything we can to make the cup competition an exciting one."

Only one team can win, and one will go home.

ACFC and NIFC will go toe-to-toe at Green Street Stadium on the campus of St. Vincent- St. Mary High School at 4:30 p.m. EST

According to the official USASA website, the “Amateur Cup is the oldest and largest elite open amateur team competition that selects an amateur champion and includes multiple national, regional and state leagues. The National Amateur Cup is an elite program of the United States Adult Soccer Association and includes over 125 high-level amateur teams entering local state association and national league events.”