Chasing History: Akron City FC moves on to Region II semifinal round of USASA Amateurs Cup against Bavarian United SC

Since 2001, BUSC has won five championships in the cup, marking them one of the favorites in each tournament.

Writer: Sideline and Beat Reporter, Cade Cracas 

South Bend, Ind.- Where Akron City FC (ACFC) hopes to continue making history.

Last weekend, on Sunday, June 2, ACFC took down Northern Indiana FC (NIFC) in a thrilling 4-2 extra-time win in Region II of the USASA Amateurs Cup quarterfinal round. The win has propelled the team to the semifinal round of the cup, where they will take on Bavarian United SC (BUSC). The outing is set for Sunday, June 9 with kickoff scheduled for 2:00 p.m.

For both sides, this is surely set to be a high-intensity game as BUSC has historically dominated the USASA Amateurs Cup. Since 2001, the team has won five championships and has been a runner-up twice.

“We have a huge amount of trust in our entire squad and feel that the depth of the group will be important for us to continue our momentum,” said ACFC Head Coach Andy Hoggarth.

ACFC is coming off a hot, 5-0, win over Niagara 1812 on Wednesday, June 5. The leading scorer in the game was forward Stefan Dobrijevic who found the back of the net twice to highlight the scoring sheet.

“We have been moving the ball well. We had a lot of chances and took advantage of them,” Dobrijevic said. “We just have to prepare mentally to play back-to-back games here soon.”

Now on the season, the team sits 2-2 in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and 1-0 in the cup. They have given up just three goals through league play while scoring 12.

Heading into an important weekend, Dobrijevic’s play and the offense's rhythm will be crucial for the team to succeed.

“I think it’s tough for us to spotlight an individual going into the weekend with the way our team has been performing as a group,” Hoggarth said. “I think any of our guys can come up big this weekend.”

In the quarterfinal round of the cup, the team paid host to NIFC, who they defeated in a nail-biter. ACFC trailed twice through regulation, tying the game up twice en route to forcing extra time. There, they would find the edge by the foot of forward Ryan Kingsford and midfielder Jackson Herbert.

The quarterfinal contest would be ACFC’s first appearance in cup play, while they also found the club’s first win.

With a variety of individuals helping to find the win, Hoggarth is excited to see if the newfound form can stay long-term.

On the side of BUSC, they are off to an incredible start in USL League Two, which is a part of the same tier the NPSL is in for the U.S. soccer pyramid.

Through the opening four games of action, the team is 3-0-1 in the Deep North Division. They’ve accumulated 10 goals scored and just five allowed through league play. That goal differential is first in their division.

While competing in the cup in recent seasons, they have easily moved past each of the opponents they’ve faced.

In 2016 and 2017, BUSC was the runner-up for the cup title. Following back-to-back seasons of second-place finishes, they were named champions in 2018. The next two years of play they were knocked out in the Region II finals and Region II semifinals, before yet again raising a trophy in 2022 as champions.

With so much success, they are favored to make a run for it all yet again.

For ACFC, going up against a highly successful team in the cup is already a challenge, but the club will also be taking on Michigan Rangers FC the day before.

“I think it’s going to be a great weekend,” Hoggarth said. “We are confident with the squad that we have, having two games in a row, that we can still be at the highest level.”

ACFC is currently on track to have the most amount of wins in one season club history, needing four to set that record. They are also looking to bring a cup championship home to the city of Akron, which would be the first time an achievement like that has been done since 1931.

That feat was done by the Akron Goodyear Wingfoots, now 93 years ago.

“The more opportunities our players have to play in these competitions the better,” ACFC Owner Nick Turchan said. “This is great for the continued growth and recognition of the Akron City FC brand in the area and nationally.”

The winner of the USASA Amateurs Cup tournament is awarded the Fritz Marth Cup and an entry into the US Open Cup, an incredible opportunity for ACFC.

Once again, the outing is set for Sunday, June 9, with kickoff scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in South Bend, Ind.