Photo courtesy: Eakin Howard
The Men of Asheville scored a dominant 9-0 win over North Alabama Soccer Club at Greenwood Field on July 15th to clinch the club’s 1st ever South Central Division title.
After a 15-minute lightning delay, the game finally kicked off.
Things got going in the 10th minute, when Alex Horveno’s corner found Scott Vatne on the edge of the box. Vatne smacked it first time on the volley and it squeaked past the keeper to give Asheville a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Asheville would strike again. Alex Horveno would switch fields and pick out Quenzi Huerman with a long ball to the right flank. Huerman would take it to the touchline and find Juan Ballas in the middle of the box who rifled home his bullet of a header to put Asheville up 2-0.
Ballas would grab another 2 minutes later when Lucas Gonzalez took advantage of some confusion between two NASC defenders and fired a shot at goal that was blocked. Ballas would hop on the rebound and calmly slot it in the bottom right corner to put the Boys in Blue up 3-0.
Asheville would grab another in the 17th minute. Horveno sent a long ball over the top that found Alex Andersson. Andersson outmuscled a defender and drove towards the net to draw the keeper out before squaring it for Huerman who tucked it home to give Asheville a 4-0 advantage.
Asheville would increase their lead to 5-0 a mere two minutes later when Gonzalez sent a splitting through ball to Ballas. Ballas cut inside in the middle of the box and rocketed a shot off of the crossbar but then beat everybody to the rebound which he headed over to Huerman who smashed a volley first-time past the keeper.
Asheville would grab a 6th before halftime in the 40th minute. Asheville took a short corner that made its way to Max Miller on the right flank. Miller took the rock to the touchline and threaded the needle with a pass through the North Alabama defense to find Bissafi Dotte on the 6 who scored with a sliding finish to put Asheville ahead 6-0.
In the 48th minute, Simon Carlson was taken down in the box which resulted in a penalty kick. Carlson stepped up to take the kick and powered it home into the bottom right corner to increase Asheville’s lead to 7-0.
Five minutes later another halftime substitute would have an instant impact. Alexis Ledoux would receive a pass in the middle of the pitch on the edge of the box and play it out wide to Lucas Gonzalez. Gonzalez would send it straight back into Ledoux who placed a tidy first-time finish past the keeper to put Asheville ahead 8-0.
Asheville would grab one more in the 71st minute through Carlson. Caio Oliveira passed the ball to Ledoux who laid it off for Carlson. Carlson would dart left before cutting back inside and unleashing a shot from the top of the box that took a deflection off of a NASC defender and found the back of the net to put Asheville up 9-0 which ended up being the final scoreline.
In the battle for the top of the South Central Division, South Carolina United FC, after a strong season, fell short of the top spot, sliding into second behind Asheville City..
Due to their efforts all season in securing the first piece of USL2 silverware for the club, the team was awarded the Highland Brewing Wishing Star of the match.
The Men will now wait to see their opponent in the 1st round of the USL playoffs. That match will take place on Friday, July 21st here at Greenwood Field.