Otters Fall 1–0 on the Road in Knoxville
In a major road test Tuesday night, the Otters fell just short, losing 1–0 in their first-ever meeting with One Knoxville. Despite another superb defensive effort, a 36th minute goal by the home team was the difference in the Otters first defeat of the season. The Otters will look to turn it around this Saturday when they travel down to Georgia to face East Atlanta FC. The first home game of the 2022 season is just ONE WEEK AWAY! Join us next Wednesday, May 25th at 7:00 PM when the Otters will square off with Appalachian FC in the second leg of the OtterSquatch Cup. Tickets to that match, as well as season tickets are on sale now at ottersoccer.com!
In one of the most physical matches of the season, the Otters headed down to Knoxville Tuesday night to face upstart One Knoxville SC in their second match of the USL League Two season. The two teams battled from the opening whistle to win every ball, leaving little space to create chances.
Utilizing the press, the Otters were able to force several turnovers in the midfield and look to attack through the front line of Aritz Uriarte (Post), Patrick O’Halloran (Lynn), and Noah Kvifte (St. Leo). However, the Otters were unable to break through early on.
Defensively, the Otters relied on the backline of Jan Gruhn (CSU-Pueblo), Andy Elkins (UAM), and Torge Witteborg (Duquesne) and midfielders Raul Varela (Lynn) and Agu Ortiz (Anderson) to thwart the One Knox attack early on. Despite some clear chances for the hosts, Jasper Rump (Coker) was a force all day in goal, coming off his line and coming out to collect the ball in the air.
The breakthrough for One Knox came late in the second half when the Otters got caught in transition and a stretched defense was forced to try and recover. A cross from a One Knox wingback found their striker in the box who finished from the tough angle past Rump for the 1–0 lead.
The second half maintained the same physical level of play, pushing both teams to the edge. The Otters nearly got the equalizer in the 54th minute when Uriarte slipped in behind the backline of One Knox but was not able to get his 1-v-1 opportunity with the keeper on target.
The Otters once again turned to their bench to provide a boost late in the match with all six substitutes making notable contributions during their time on the pitch. The game stayed tightly contested and Knoxville had two great chances late in the match but were denied by a fantastic diving save from Rump and a goal line clearance from Edin Hernandez (Montevallo) on the ensuing corner.
Deep into stoppage time, the Otters nearly salvaged a point on the road when an Austin Yowell (Belmont) long ball into the box found a leaping David Panter (Hastings) who missed the opposite corner by inches on the header.
Despite the loss, the Otters still remain in the top half of the table as they continue their road stretch to open league play. With the 2022 season now in full swing, be sure to follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on all things Otters! #FearTheFur