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Photo courtesy: Dani Nicosia

Asheville City Falls 1-0 to Greenville Liberty on Pride Night

By Mitch Stone, 06/09/24, 5:45AM HST


Photo courtesy: Dani Nicosia

On Saturday night, the Women of Asheville fell 1-0 to the Greenville Liberty in a tightly contested match on Pride Night at Greenwood Field. Despite the Blues dominance in possession throughout the fixture, they failed to create any formidable chances in front of goal. 

The first half was an even contest, in which both sides defended well, preventing any legitimate chances from being produced. Asheville remained focused on possessing the ball going forward, while Greenville opted for a more direct approach with their strikers. 

Amidst the rainbow smoke bombs of the South Slope Blues, the match kicked off for the club’s annual Pride Night celebration with 1072 fans in attendance. Just 4 minutes in, the Blues generated their first chance, in which Yulia Khyrystiuk received the ball out wide, took a touch, hesitated, and struck a bending shot away from goal. 

In the 11th minute, Asheville nearly found their first goal of the evening when Molly Dywer played a short pass forward to Addy Porter, who quickly gathered the ball and hit a slow, bouncing shot towards goal, forcing Greenville goalkeeper McKenzie Solomon to fully extend for the save. 7 minutes later, Porter was once again in the thick of the action, as she received the ball from a throw in and swiftly turned around the defender, launching a well-hit shot right into Solomon’s hands. 

The Liberty nearly silenced the energetic Greenwood Field crowd in the 23rd minute off a defensive mistake by Gillian Oyos. The UNC Asheville senior let a high-flying ball into the box bounce behind her, giving Tara Katz the opportunity to chest it down and blast a dangerous shot into the side netting. 

Colombia international Ilana Izquierdo dominated the midfield in her first match back in Asheville, distributing perfect passes while creating amazing movement off the ball throughout the first half. Giving off Sergio Busquets vibes, the Mississippi State senior could be found everywhere on the pitch. The first half ended with the score remaining at 0-0. 

The second half began with a golden opportunity for the Liberty following a poor clearance by the Asheville backline. Receiving the ball at the top of the box, Carly Wilson took a touch and fired an explosive shot, just missing the crossbar. 

A minute later, in the 52nd minute, Greenville took the lead off a magnificent strike from outside of the box. From inside her own half, Macie Mietz played a superb long ball down the sideline to Lela Stark, who speedily collected it, took a touch forward, and bent a curling strike from distance over Little. 1-0 Greenville. 

In the 55th minute, the Blues created their only quality chance of the second half. Pushing towards goal, Gry Boe Thrysoe laid the ball off for Khyrystiuk, who hit a low, bouncing shot straight at Solomon, forcing her to make a routine save.

The story of the second half was Greenville’s unmatched physicality. The Liberty found great success in winning 50/50 challenges in the midfield, prompting several dangerous counter attacks. Asheville just couldn't break through Greenville’s compact backline and the match would eventually finish 0-1 in favor of the visitors. 

Following the loss, Coach Brooke Bingham stated, “I think Greenville has a very good team defensively. They’re very compact in their shape. They’re very disciplined in their shape so it was hard for us to break the lines.”

The Women of Asheville will look to bounce back on Tuesday night against fourth-place SSA at 7:30pm at Greenwood Field. They remain in second place in the South Central Division with 13 points. The Men will host the Birmingham Legion in their next match on June 15th at 7:30pm at Greenwood Field.