by Andriana Ruscitto

Cleveland, Ohio, Jan. 30, 2023 - Over 2,500 fans gathered at the IX Center Jan. 28 and Jan. 29 to watch the Cleveland Crunch take on the Detroit Waza Flo and Rapid City FC for its home opening weekend.

The IX Center was filled with excitement Jan. 28, as the Crunch stepped on to the turf at a new venue to take on the Detroit Waza Flo. 

Prior to game time, the organization held a ceremony to retire former Crunch player (1990-2000) and fan favorite Zoran Karic’s jersey #16. Karic joined the Cleveland Crunch front office on the field and Managing Partner Luciano Ruscitto gave a speech to honor his accomplishments.

The Crunch shut out Detroit, defeating them 8-0. Goalkeeper #24 Marijo Musa won the MetroHealth ‘Man of the Match’ honor Saturday night, with a clean sheet and 2 assists.

Saturday night’s excitement trickled into Sunday afternoon as over 1,000 fans entered the IX Center to watch the Crunch take on Rapid City FC. Ahead of Sunday’s match, first place in the division was at stake. 

The Crunch solidified first place in the division and advanced to 5-1 after defeating Rapid City 16-9 Sunday afternoon. Crunch goals were scored by forward Ryan Minick (3), Midfielder Admir Suljevic (5), Midfielder Aidan Bozak (2), Forward Mikey Derezic (2), Defender Bob Cancar (1) and Forward Parker Czisar, who scored 3 goals in his Crunch debut.

Midfielder #10 Admir Suljevic earned the MetroHealth ‘Man of the Match’ honor Jan. 29, with 5 goals, 3 assists and 8 points. 

The Cleveland Crunch will head to the Soccer Sportsplex in North Olmsted Feb. 11 to take on the Cincinnati Swerve at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Feb. 11 game are on sale now on the Ticket Swift app. Doors will open at 6 p.m.