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Photo courtesy: Eakin Howard

Asheville City Men Fall to USL1 Outfit One Knoxville in US Open Cup Debut

By Anthony Boscia, 03/20/24, 5:30PM HST


Photo courtesy: Eakin Howard

The Men of Asheville fought hard and put up a good showing of themselves in front of 1,115 fans at Greenwood Field, but would wind up falling short to One Knoxville SC 2-0 on Wednesday Night.

The action started in the 9th minute when Asheville drew a freekick on the left side of the attacking side. Clay Obara’s freekick found the head of Moussa Gueye but he could not direct his attempt on net.

Four minutes later One Knoxville would find the opener on their first good chance as Frank Ross slid a ball from the left side of the box towards the center inside the six where it took a couple of bounces before ultimately falling to Rodolfo Castro Jr. who finished it on the volley to put the visitors up 1-0 early.

In the 23rd minute, chaos inside of the Knoxville box almost led to an equalizer after an Asheville ball thrown into the danger zone took a few bounces off of players before calmly rolling into the hands of the opposing keeper Johan Garibay.

A few moments later, a beautiful One Knox ball found an in-stride Ross inside the box who turned it on goal with his first touch but Tyler Turner was equal to the opportunity.

Three minutes after that, Mason Duval received a slip pass from the Blues on the left side of the box before taking a few touches and firing a strike at the near-post but Garibay was able to keep it out of the net.

In the 37th minute, Frederico Ferreira hopped on a loose ball outside of the box and turned a rocket on goal from outside of the box but it was saved by a diving Garibay.

In the 43rd, a through ball found Knoxville’s Stuart Ritchie on the left side of the net who then tried to place his shot just inside of the Blues near-post but his attempt struck the outside of the net.

3 minutes later, Obara chased down a ball on the right flank and drove a bit before pulling it back to Ferreira in the middle who darted to his left and struck a ferocious ball towards the upper left corner of the net but it sailed just a little bit wide.

One Knoxville would increase their lead to 2 on the last kick of the half as they drew a freekick on the left side of the field. Ross’ freekick was a bit overcooked but Ritchie pounced on the ball on the right side of the box and fed it to Callum Johnson who powered his shot past Turner to give One Knox a 2-0 lead.

Asheville would start off the 2nd half on their front foot, as Alex Horveno’s free kick on the right side was a curling ball towards the far post that found a leaping Ferreira who just could not squeeze his attempt inside of the near-post as the Knoxville lead remained 2-0.

Then in the 57th minute of play, a through ball found Ferreira who broke through on a run in the center of the pitch before being chopped down by a One Knox defender on the edge of the box. Shouts for a penalty rang throughout Greenwood Field but they would go begging as Knoxville would clear the ball after no call was made.

In the 60th minute, Robles hopped on a loose ball on the edge of the box in the center and headed it down to Obara whose falling half-volley attempt sailed over the center of the Knoxville net.

Things would get dicey for the visitors in the 61st, when a rash tackle by Jalen Crisler on the edge of the Knoxville box drew his second yellow of the night which brought the guests down to 10-men. Horveno stepped up for the freekick for Asheville but it would hit the wall of Knoxville defenders.

In the 73rd minute, a field-switching ball found Horveno on the left side of the edge of the box. He cut inside and released a powerful strike with his right foot towards the center of goal but the attempt flew right into Garibay’s waiting hands.

20 minutes later, Asheville would win a corner and the ensuing ball by Horveno would be headed by Mao Wong in the center of the 6 towards goal but it would take a deflection off a One Knox defender and go over the goal for another corner.

Not even a minute later, Asheville’s Sebastian Jorgge almost managed to put the Blues on the scoreboard as after he collected a pass, his long-range shot from the center of the field a bit outside the box was earmarked for just under the crossbar but a leaping Garibay was able to punch it and keep the attempt out of the net meaning that ACSC would fall 2-0 in their first ever USOC match despite their valiant effort.

The Boys in Blue open up their USL2 campaign in less than two months as they head to Georgia to take on Southern Soccer Academy on Friday, May 17th.

The Blues then open up their home schedule with the return match against SSA at Greenwood Field on Friday, May 24th. The Women of Asheville open up their campaign on Friday, May 10th in Greenville, South Carolina as they renew their rivalry against the Greenville Liberty. They then return home a week later on Friday, May 17th as they take on new foe Birmingham Legion at Greenwood Field.

Single-Game and Season ticket packages are now available, so come join the family at Greenwood Field this upcoming season to cheer on the Blues!