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Photo courtesy: Aiden Armstrong

Asheville City Wins 3-1 In Bounce-Back Victory Over SSA

By Mitch Stone, 06/12/24, 1:30PM HST


Photo courtesy: Aiden Armstrong

Following a tough loss to the Greenville Liberty over the weekend, the Women of Asheville rebounded with a 3-1 victory over Southern Soccer Academy at Greenwood Field on Tuesday Night. With the win, the Blues successfully completed the double over the Swarm while maintaining second place in the South Central Division. 

Club legend Parker Roberts made a surprise appearance tonight, starting at center back for the first time since July of 2023. Right midfielder Ava Bjorkman-Tracy also earned the start following the injury of Maison Wells. 

Asheville began the match doing what they do best: building the ball up from the back. Ilana Izquierdo once again dominated the midfield, quickly receiving the ball from the backline and dishing passes out wide. 

Southern Soccer Academy created the first big chance of the match following a giveaway by Izquierdo in the 13th minute. SSA midfielder Summer Ligon won the ball and seamlessly played it over the backline to striker Carlie Banks, who struck it wide. 

Just three minutes later, the Blues took the lead courtesy of yet another Addie Porter goal. In the buildup, Juliana Viera played a lofted ball into the box, finding Molly Dwyer, who swifty delivered a low, driven cross to an unmarked Addie Porter. The Vanderbilt striker calmy taped it in for her eighth goal of the season, putting Asheville ahead 1-0. 

In the 42nd minute, the Blues nearly recorded their second goal of the evening when Kelly Gordon skilfully dribbled into the box and slipped a pass to Izquierdo. The Colombian international quickly received the ball and bent a shot towards the near post, forcing goalkeeper Michaela Mikko to dive for the save. Asheville would lead 1-0 at the half. 

12 minutes into the second half, controversy struck as a bouncing ball in the box touched the hand of defender Taylor Anderson, prompting the ref to point to the spot. Despite Izquierdo missing the initial penalty, she was awarded a second chance after Mikko was caught off her line. The Mississippi State senior redeemed herself with a powerful strike into the bottom left corner, extending the Blues lead to 2-0. 

Following the goal, the Swarm began sending more numbers forward, causing problems for the Asheville backline. In the 70th minute, after an Izquierdo giveaway, Sanna Listenbee collected the ball and played it through to Banks, whose curling strike just missed the right post. 

In back to back matches, Alison Little has only allowed two goals and both have been bangers. In the 80th minute, center back Kelsey Croft launched a longball from deep within her own half to Banks, who dribbled downfield, swiftly cut inside, and lofted a strike towards the right post. The shot deflected off of it and in for the Swarm’s only goal of the evening. 

The Women of Asheville secured the win in the 89th minute thanks to a spectacular assist from Nao Kawasaki. The forward, hailing from Oita, Japan, backheeled a pass in the air — almost scorpion-like — to Molly Dwyer, who then battled through a group of defenders and chipped the keeper to finish off the match. 

Coach Brooke Bingham was impressed with the victory, stating ,”I think it was a very important one. We got together, we held our own, we possessed very well, and we finished our chances.” Bingham has led the Blues to 16 points in her first season, just 6 points shy of the 2023 season total with three games still to play. 

When asked about the one thing she missed most following her return to action, Parker Roberts explained, “it’s the people that make it so special. You have all the owners and the girls that are just so welcoming…I mean, I’ve known them for years and that’s what makes me want to come back. It feels like home.” 

The Women of Asheville maintain second place with 16 points and will host the Chattanooga Red Wolves next Tuesday at 7:30pm at Greenwood Field. The Men return to action on Saturday as they host the Birmingham Legion at 7:30pm at Greenwood Field.