Although a hard fought battle, Asheville City’s men’s team fell to One Knoxville 3-1 on Tuesday, June 22.
This is Asheville’s first loss of the season with the team now holding a record of 7-1-2. The Blues remain in the playoff conversation, as the top two teams in the South Central Division will get a bid.
The Tuesday game had packed stands as this was a crucial division matchup. Players, coaches, and fans could feel tension, and at times got involved in the action.
Twelve yellow cards were dished out during the game, the first coming in the 11th minute when Arias-Sinclair of Knoxville entered the book. The second came in the 17th minute when Knoxville’s Fletcher entered the book.
Entering halftime, the score was 0-0, with the Blues finding their consistency throughout the first half.
“First half we dominated possession and we were very secure in the back,” head coach Scott Wells said.
The second half began with a goal from Knoxville in the 51st minute. This was the first time Asheville trailed all season.
The next ten minutes of the game saw three yellows, two on Knoxville and one for Asheville.
At the 61st minute Knoxville scored again, doubling their lead. But, the Blues remained resilient and did not give up on their hopes for a win.
Looking for fresh legs, the Blues made their first changes of the night in the 82nd and 85th minutes. Daniel Cerezo entered for Finn Ballard-McBride, Kyoji Hata entered for Lucas Gonzalez, and Haruki Yamazaki entered for Clay Obara.
Finally, in the 87th minute Quenzi Huerman scored on an incredible free kick bringing the score to 2-1. This goal quickly gave the Blues momentum and energy.
Unfortunately, the Blues could not hold onto the momentum as Knoxville scored in stoppage time.
Later in stoppage time, chaos erupted on the benches and a Knoxville player was given a red card. Twelve cards were distributed during this game.
“Every season where I’ve won championships there has been one defining moment that hurts more than any other moment,” Wells said. “It doesn’t feel like a good thing right now, but I think it is a good thing. We are a very strong group with high character.”
The men’s team will return to Memorial Stadium on Friday, June 24 for a rematch against the Tri-Cities Otters. Kick off will be at 7:30 p.m.