2023 Retrospective: An ebb and flow

Published Apr 30, 2024


Story by: Evan Sardo



After three consecutive seasons ending in gold, last term’s early playoff exit was an unfamiliar sight for Roc City Boom fans.  And for the team’s players and coaches, the empty space on the trophy shelf serves as a conspicuous reminder of the standard to which they know they must return.  While the team looks forward to a return to glory in their first season in Nisa Nation, the 2023 campaign was still impressive in its own right. 


Opening with a record of 1-2-2 through five games, the team found itself at serious risk of missing out on the UPSL playoffs for the first time.  Even worse, coach Marc Mandell was forced to look for answers without the Boom’s all-time leading scoring and team captain Peter DiLorenzo, who was lost to an ACL injury in only the second match of the season.  Even with the early season injury, DiLorenzo still left his mark, scoring two goals after the injury occurred to lead the team to a 2-2 draw against cross-town rival RNYFC Academy.


Despite the conundrum, answers were found as the team finished with five wins in their last six matches, ending the regular season with a record of 6-2-3 and a spot in the playoffs that looked so unlikely only a few weeks before.  The turnaround can be attributed predominantly to two factors: first, a shift in formation from a back four to a back three and, second, the arrival of a few key reinforcements to the squad.


Anchored around a stable back three of Daniel Reger, Jesse Toth, and Wilson Wong in front of keeper Connor Halsted, the new formation gave the team greater width with Konrad Zydowicz allowed to push further forward on the left and one of those aforementioned late arrivals, Jacob Lenhard, impunity to maraud down the right.  The midfield was centered around two all-action midfielders, most often Taner Bay and Joe Balls, with Anthony Rozzano allowed maximum freedom to utilize his deep bag of tricks and knack for finding space between the lines.  On the front like, a balanced partnership of two more mid-season squad additions, Tamas Nagy and Chuck Domm, took shape with Domm pressuring opposing defenses with his size and strength and Nagy utilizing his skill to play off of Domm or set up deeper alongside Rozzano as the game dictated.


The team surged in the second half of the season reinvigorated by Mandell’s alchemy and put on some thrilling performances including four and five goal outputs vs Binghamton FC and Chantilly Forever.  The only loss in their last six league matches came in a 2-3 thriller to undefeated table-toppers FCY New York.


The strong run-in led to a fifth place league finish and a rematch in the opening round of the playoffs against RNYFC Academy.  Though the Boom made a late run after falling behind early, much like the season itself, it was ultimately not to be as the season ended in a 2-1 playoff defeat. 


And now, with 2023 in the rearview, coach Marc Mandell looks forward to bringing a new look Roc City Boom squad into a new season in a new league with the goal the same as ever:  to win a championship.  Look out for a preview of the team’s coming season in the NISA Nation WNY division coming soon.