#BGFC #FC Leopards

Bowling Green FC’s Struggle Against Newcomer FC Leopards

I have some minor disappointments in the Golden Lions and some major props to the Leopards. The Golden Lions suffered a setback last weekend when they struggled against an opponent they expected to beat easily. And I am stuck wondering, is this the same old Golden Lions or are they able to turn things around?

So what happened? On Saturday, Bowling Green FC played FC Leopards in a UPSL regular-season match, which ended with a 2-1 victory for FC Leopards. The game was marked by its intensity and competitive spirit, with Mayele and Dembele scoring for FC Leopards, and Michael Swierkosz scoring a consolation goal for BGFC from a penalty kick in the 90th minute.

From the start, the match did not favor BGFC. In the first 30 minutes, the team failed to establish a coherent strategy, and their reliance on long balls proved pointless against the aggressive and assertive play of FC Leopards, who dominated possession and created numerous chances. That was not the case for the Leopards. FCL controlled the run of play the whole match and put the clamps on any attacking efforts the Golden Lions had. 

A significant moment in the match occurred in the 17th minute when a Bowling Green player, Byamungu Amisi, suffered a dislocated kneecap after a tackle from an FC Leopards player. This incident was typical of the overall physical nature of the game, where FC Leopards displayed a relentless but reckless at times approach to their play. 

And from a certain perspective, I can understand why they played this way in this match. This match meant so much to the FC Leopards organization and their players. Joseph Msambya, General Secretary for the club, said this was more than just a cross-town victory. They are coming to win the whole league. 

“Our motto is to win this league. So, we are not scared of any team that is coming to us. We are Leopards.” Msambya said in the post-match interview. “Next time, we are going to beat another team. We have to stay at the top; that is our goals. (We have to) Stay at the top of the tables all the time” Msambya added.

The refereeing during the match was a point of contention. Several instances, including a controversial interaction involving Bowling Green’s Josh Head and the FC Leopards goalkeeper in the penalty box, raised questions about the officiating approach to player safety, with no cards issued to address the aggressive play.

Photo by Fahad Alotaibi

FC Leopards entered the match with a clear determination to make a statement against their cross-town rivals, which they did. Their fans, witnessing the first derby against BGFC, provided intense support, echoing the importance of the match. This was the largest crowd I have seen in my two-plus years following UPSL soccer in this city. It was awe-inspiring, and I hope to see that continue as the season progresses. 

This result places FC Leopards at the top of the table while pushing BGFC down to fifth. It raises concerns about the Golden Lion’s upcoming matches, particularly against Southern Indiana FC (who looked VERY impressive again with a 7-0 victory over Chattanooga United). The team’s lackluster performance against FC Leopards as well as the loss of one of their star players, Amisi, as well as their seemingly some chemistry issues between the team and their major off-season signing, Head, indicate potential challenges ahead, especially given their historically strong opponents.

Questions remain about Bowling Green FC’s strategy and preparation, especially considering their lack of championships since the emergence of Tennessee Tempo FC (Beaman United FC Previously) in their division. The team’s approach to scheduling and player integration remains scrutinized as they look to regain their competitive edge in the region.

After the match, BGFC Head Coach and Technical Director Evan Sutherland said, “They got into us, and we struggled to deal with their pressure. We were a step off tonight.” Adding “We missed some chances tonight” and “Hats off to Leopards. I give them credit. This was a good environment and they played hard, and they were super dangerous on the counter-attack.” “It was just one of those nights where we were not clean, and we gave up a kinda strange goal.”

When asked about the future and how his team will react moving forward, Coach Sutherland said, “The guys will learn from this, and they are pretty upset about this. We know what we have in the locker room, and we are going to get better. The guys will be focused.” “This is a good thing for our guys,” and “There are eight games to go, and there is still plenty of time. We need to get some rhythm.” 

As BGFC prepares for future matches, their performance in this game will undoubtedly serve as a critical point of reflection for the team, coaching staff, and their supporters. They should be able to rebound and get a few more wins over the bottom half of the table, but I question how high up the table they can climb. Teams like Tennessee Tempo, FC Lepoard, and Southern Indian FC are ahead of BGFC in the table and looking more impressive so far this season. However, the season is still early, and we still have a lot of soccer to play. I know I can’t wait for the next weekend of soccer in the UPSL KY/TN Conference.

Make sure to stick to Bluegrass Soccer Cast (@BGSoccerCast on all social media platforms) for full coverage of BGFC and everything soccer in our beautiful Commonwealth.


  • Jimmie Martin

    Jimmie Martin is a charismatic soccer podcast host from Kentucky who passionately advocates for Promotion and Relegation in US Soccer. With infectious enthusiasm and a lighthearted sense of humor, he engages fellow enthusiasts on the Bluegrass Soccer Cast. Jimmie's goal is to promote the growth of soccer in the US while entertaining and educating his audience.

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