Otters Move Into First Place Tie with 3–2 Win
Two goals from Patrick O’Halloran (Lynn) and a second half winner from David Panter (Hastings) saw the Otters win their third road game of the season. With another victory on Saturday night, the Otters move into a first place tie with One Knoxville SC. The Otters have already secured nine road points this season, more than any previous season in Otters history. This Wednesday will see the Otters open their league home schedule when unbeaten Asheville City comes to town with first place on the line! Tickets for on-field, general admission, and the entire season are on sale NOW at ottersoccer.com and HappsNow!
Playing their fourth road game to open the USL League Two season, the Otters got out to a much quicker start Saturday night then last week in Atlanta. Ant Cox (Bellevue) created several scoring opportunities in the first ten minutes, but none were able to get on frame. Tenessee Soccer Club nearly found a goal of their own but Jasper Rump (Coker) was able to come out and make a diving punch to clear the danger.
The Otters broke the deadlock in just the 14th minute when a long throw from Agu Ortiz (Anderson) was head down by Leiva before O’Halloran blasted home for the early 1–0 lead.
Just 45 seconds later, the Otters were able to force a turnover at midfield and Edin Hernandez (Montevallo) threaded a perfect pass to O’Halloran who raced in for the 1-v-1 finish and the 2–0 lead.
TSC were able to get one back in the 20th minute, when a forward was able to get in behind and just beat the closing Otters defender and Rump who had come out to contest the shot. The game remained fairly back and forth for the remainder of the half, with a header by Jan Gruhn (CSU-Pueblo) getting cleared off the line just as the half ended.
The second half saw TSC get on the front foot early and ultimately were awarded a PK after contact in the box. Rump guessed correctly but was unable to save it, leveling the game at 2–2 in the 48th minute.
Fifteen minutes later, Gruhn played a long ball to Panter. After an awkward bounce over the keeper’s head, Panter beat the TSC keeper in a foot race to knock it home for the final 3–2 scoreline. From then on, the Otters excelled defensively, with Gruhn, Rump, Andy Elkins (UAM), Torge Witteborg (Duquesne), and Mike Peck (Missouri State) making key stops when needed. The Otters nearly added a goal late into stoppage time when Davis McBee (Belmont Abbey) raced in behind and laid the ball off to a waiting Raul Varela (Lynn) whose shot rolled just wide.
The win gives the Otters three road victories out of four to open their season and are tied with nine points at the top of the table. This Wednesday’s HOME MATCH will kickoff at 7 PM at TVA Credit Union Ballpark! Buy tickets ahead of time to skip the lines on game day with simple scan-and-go entry! Be sure to follow the Otters (@ottersoccer) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on all things Otters as the season progresses! #FearTheFur