The Otters were able to replicate their performance from up in Boone to open the season, once again topping Appalachian FC 2–1 on Wednesday night. In their first home match of the season, two second half goals were enough to clinch the cup by an aggregate score of 4–2 over the two legs. With the win, the Otters have now won four of their first five matches of the season with a +4 goal differential. The Otters travel to Nashville this Saturday before returning home NEXT WEDNESDAY, to face first place Asheville City SC for the first-time ever in Johnson City! Tickets for that match are already on sale HERE or at ottersoccer.com!
With the full roster at their disposal the Otters were able to get a mix of regular starters and some new faces on the pitch for the first time this season, while also resting some key starters for Saturday’s match. The first half was a lot of players adjusting to both each other, and the field for the first 25 minutes.
The Otters slowly found a rhythm with Ethan Bishop (Milligan), Soren Nygaard (Florida Tech), and Sebastian Borquez (Rio Grande) creating the bulk of the chances in the first half. Nicolas Cortes (Drake) and Erick Kilosho (UVA) manned the midfield, disrupting attacks and getting the ball out wide.
Defensively, Shane Lanson (SMU) made his debut in goal, and his backline of Torge Witteborg (Duquesne), Mike Peck (Missouri State), and Kelly Geiber (Southern Oregon), were able to nullify the Appalachian attack for the majority of the game.
As has been the story with the Otters first four games prior, the game turned as the Otters were able to look to their bench and provide sparks all over the formation. The breakthrough finally came shortly after the 60th minute when substitute Moritz Lusch (Lynn) worked an opening and fired a shot that was deflected to the feet of Aritz Uriarte (Post), who calmly slotted it past the keeper for the 1–0 lead.
The Otters continued to push forward and nearly doubled their lead in the 75th minute when an impressive individual effort by Davis Eddleman (Belmont) rolled just wide. However, just five minutes later Edin Hernandez (Montevallo) earned a free kick just outside the box and took it himself, hitting the inch perfect shot into the corner, past the Appalachian keeper.
Appalachian FC were able to pull a goal back late in the match, just sneaking one past a diving Lanson, but were unable to find two more goals in stoppage time that would have sent the game to penalty kicks.
The Otters will play their fourth road match of the league season Friday, when they take on Tennessee Soccer Club, before returning home for a stretch of three out of four games inside the friendly confines of TVA Credit Union Ballpark. The 2022 season is in full effect, with numerous games and events on the calendar! Follow the @ottersoccer on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as ottersoccer.com to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the action! #FearTheFur