JP Scearce secures his first professional brace
STATESBORO, Ga. (June 25, 2022) – Union Omaha was able to bounce back after a long week to defeat South Georgia Tormenta FC 3-2 Saturday night.
The Owls were recovering from a couple of fresh wounds, experiencing both their first home loss and first Open Cup loss in just a few days. In both matches, Omaha failed to find the scoresheet, so it was obvious that something needed to change in its first League One rematch of the season. With the Open Cup run in the rearview, the Owls could now focus solely on their title-defending campaign.
Tormenta was experiencing some challenges of its own, too, going winless in its last five matches. The side had yet to win at home this season, a streak that the Owls were looking to extend. Omaha, having never lost to South Georgia, was hoping this would be the match to get the team back on the right foot.
Kevin Piedrahita, starting in goal for Omaha for just the second time this season, recorded his first save in the 16th minute, coming up to smother a ball from Jamil Roberts.
Though both teams looked strong offensively to start, it was Tormenta that opened up the scoring just a minute later. With a nice series of passes, Roberts found Adrian Billhardt who slid it just past Piedrahita. It was just the third goal that Tormenta has scored at home all year, and Omaha was determined to let it be the last of the night.
The Owls didn’t stay down for long, though. Dion Acoff tried to level the match in the 21st minute, working off a Meza ball and forcing a tough save out of the Tormenta’s Pablo Jara in goal.
It was JP Scearce who would find the equalizer just two minutes later, capitalizing off a rush in the box. Ryen Jiba sent a cross in for Meza, who attempted a header that was batted out by Jara. Scearce found the ball off the bounce and slammed it home on the rebound, his fourth goal across all competitions. In just 23 minutes, the match was already vastly different that April’s scoreless contest between the two sides.
The offense refused to let up and looked poised to take the lead in the 25th minute, as Acoff raced past a sea of South Georgia defenders and took a strike on goal. The Owls got another quality attempt in the 35th minute when Conor Doyle tried to find Hugo Kametani for the score, but a difficult turn-and-shoot position forced the shot wide.
As good as the offense looked, the defense also had several moments on brilliance in the first half, starting with a sliding clearance from Daltyn Knutson on a potential go-ahead goal for Tormenta. Isaac Bawa also came up big, recording a block off a strong shot from Rodgers.
Scearce earned himself a penalty kick in the 54th minute after being taken down by a Tormenta defender. The veteran calmly stepped up and slotted it home past the keeper, giving the Owls their first lead of the match. With the score, not only did Scearce secure his first-ever professional brace, but he also moved into the solo spot for the team’s top scorer in league play.
Scearce almost made it a hat trick in the 61st minute, as Joe Brito sent a dangerous delivery into the box that just missed the heads of both Scearce and Knutson.
The match didn’t finish without some adversity, as an unlucky clearance attempt by Isaac Bawa gave an own goal to Tormenta’s line in stoppage time. But Omaha was ultimately able to hold off an equalizer until the clock expired and cap off a grueling week with another 3 points.
With the win, the Owls push their road win streak to 3 and hope to get back to their winning ways at home next Friday when they host Charlotte Independence at 7 p.m. for Youth Soccer Night.
ABOUT UNION OMAHA
Union Omaha, the 2021 USL League One Champion, is the only professional soccer team in the state of Nebraska. USL League One is a United States Soccer Federation-sanctioned professional men’s soccer league that occupies the third tier of the American soccer landscape, below USL Championship (tier two) and Major League Soccer (tier one). Union Omaha plays its home matches at Werner Park in Sarpy County, also home to the Omaha Storm Chasers of Minor League Baseball. The team is led by General Manager Peter Marlette in the front office and by Head Coach Jay Mims on the field.