On Saturday night, the Otters were able to overcome an early two-goal deficit to capture their second road win of the season against East Atlanta FC. Goals from Jan Gruhn (CSU-Pueblo) and Esteban Leiva (Belmont) pulled the Otters back level, before Patrick O’Halloran (Lynn) was able to bury a penalty kick for the final goal. The next time the Otters take the pitch will be AT HOME when they face NPSL-foe Appalachian FC at 7:00 PM inside TVA Credit Union Ballpark Wednesday, May 25th. Tickets for the match are NOW ON SALE!
East Atlanta got the jump on the Otters early, as the team looked to find their footing. In the 18th minute, a cross from an Atlanta wingback was finished past goalkeeper Joshua Garvilla (Lees-McRae) for the first goal of the match. Just three minutes later, a breakaway for East Atlanta ended with another goal for the hosts.
From there, the Otters began to get into the game and hold more possession. After a number of half chances, the Otters earned their first corner of the match. While the initial ball was knocked down, Gruhn was able to work a small opening and blast it across goal for his first goal in an Otters uniform.
Still trailing by a goal, the Otters nearly equalized late in the first half when David Panter (Hastings) was brought down in a dangerous area and Ant Cox (Bellevue) hit a curling free kick that Atlanta was forced to knock out for a corner.
The second half saw the Otters continue to settle in and find spaces to create more chances. The Otters once again turned to their bench to provide a spark and made their first changes in the 60th minute, bringing Torge Witteborg (Duquesne) and Fletcher Dyson (Lees-McRae) into the match. Two minutes later, the Otters found their equalizer when a cross from Cox was spilled by the keeper and Leiva blasted it home to level things.
The Otters went ahead for good in the 69th minute when Panter was brought down at the top of the box by the Atlanta keeper to earn a penalty kick. O’Halloran stepped to the spot, and despite his initial shot being blocked, he was able to score on the rebound.
The Otters nearly added to their lead in the 78th minute, when an Agu Ortiz (Anderson) cross found a rising Noah Kvifte (St. Leo) whose header went just over the bar. The game was all Otters from then on, with Mike Peck (Missouri State) and the others Otters defenders stifling nearly all Atlanta attacks. Garvilla came up big down the stretch in goal, recording several saves late and coming out to collect multiple free kicks.
The win puts the Otters in a tie for second place on six points through three games in the Deep South Division. With a brief break in USL League Two action to play Appalachian FC at home this Wednesday, the Otters will close out their four-game league road trip next Saturday in Nashville to face Tennessee Soccer Club. Be sure to follow @ottersoccer on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to stay up to date on all things Otters this season! #FearTheFur