After nearly two years away from the pitch, the Otters got off to a blazing start, putting up three first half goals to take the first leg of the OtterSquatch Cup by a score of 3–1 against Appalachian FC. The Otters were led by Danilo Seglio (Loyola Maryland), who scored two goals and captain Aidan O’Brien (ETSU) scoring off a corner just before the half. Appalachian FC makes the return trip to Johnson City THIS SUNDAY at 2 PM inside TVA Credit Union Ballpark for the conclusion of the OtterSquatch Cup. Fans can get tickets for the match on HappsNow.com and get 15% off their purchase by using the code OTTERS at checkout!
“Exciting start to the season, I thought we played a lot of flowing football, seeing some areas of the field that we need to work on but excited to see the energy and chemistry from our players,” says head coach David Strickland, “We are excited for the next preseason match on Sunday!”
The Otters came out in a 4–3–3 and controlled much of the possession early on creating several chances in the first ten minutes. However, Appalachian FC were first to get on the board in the 14th minute when a corner bounced around the box and was deflected into the goal.
Otter pressure persisted, and the game shifted when Guillermo Segovia (Florida Tech) entered the game. He was able to spring several chances, including a would-be PK for Wilfred Williams (Chattanooga FC) but was waived away for a corner.
In the 25th minute the Otters were awarded a free kick to the right of the box. Seglio took the kick and placed it in the far corner to give the Otters the equalizer. From there, the Otters maintained pressure in the midfield with the trio of O’Brien, Izzy Garcia-Perez (UNC Asheville), and Agustin Ortiz (Anderson) consistently forcing turnovers.
The pressure paid off as the Otters were able to get out on the counter and find Djibril Faye (Radford) in space who cut the ball back to a charging Seglio and curled a ball past the keeper for the 2–1 lead.
Just before the halftime whistle, the Otters earned a corner and Seglio’s service fell to centerback Sam Catherall (Gardner-Webb) who sent the ball back towards goal where O’Brien controlled it and rolled it past the keeper for the final goal of the day.
The Otters continued to control the second half with the backline of Williams, Catherall, Henrik Guenther (ETSU), and Gabriel Ramos (ETSU) worked to cut out any Appalachian chances. Goalkeeper Patrick Timmer (Fresno Pacific) was able to make his lone save of the half off a header from an Appalachian FC corner.
Offensively, the Otters worked chances and were able to get several players into the exhibition match. The two best chances came from Charlie Betts (Milligan) and Lars Brinkman (UIS) off great feeds from Seglio and Alex Lee Yaw (Gannon), respectively.
“It’s a great feeling to start the season off with a win. For having met each other a couple days ago, we played as a team and you could tell that everyone was enjoying each other and having fun,” said captain Aidan O’Brien, “We have a lot of really talented players and last night was a great starting point!”
The result gives the Otters a 3–1 lead heading into leg two on Sunday at home. There will be more Otters set to make their debut and look to capture the OtterSquatch Cup. Be there for the Otters first home game of 2021 in their new home in downtown Johnson City at TVA Credit Union Ballpark. Kickoff is set for 2 PM and tickets can be purchased at ottersoccer.com under Tickets! Follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on all things Otters this summer! #FearTheFur