Noe Meza scores his second brace of the season in 3-3 draw
PAPILLION, Neb. (May 24, 2023) – Omaha’s offense continued to rain goals against Greenville Triumph SC, scoring a trio in its second consecutive match Wednesday night.
The 2020 and 2021 League One Finalists Greenville and Omaha met Wednesday night for the first match-up of the season, the perennial League One powers writing another chapter in their storied rivalry.
It didn’t take long for Omaha to put its first dent on the scoreboard, as Pedro Dolabella ripped a shot from outside the box, leaving the Greenville goalkeeper frozen in place as it sailed past to the back of the net. The score was Dolabella’s second goal in as many matches and the 5th game of the season in which the Owls got an early start in the first half.
The equalizer, however, was quick to follow, with Greenville evening the match in the 23rd minute off a set piece opportunity.
Omaha held 62% of the possession and whacked 12 shots off in the first half but would be looking to convert more as the teams headed into the break still knotted up at 1-1.
The team’s leading scorer put his name on scoresheet once again, as Noe Meza capitalized off a feed from Conor Doyle to slant the ball home and put the Owls back up 2-1 in the 53rd minute.
Dolabella and Meza went right back to work, pushing up field and putting pressure on the Greenville defense once again, as Dolabella gave Luis Gil a good look in the 61st minute, the latter pinging the crossbar to nearly double Omaha’s advantage.
Meza wasn’t done for the night, the second-year pro knocking in his second of the night in the 70th minute, as Gil found Meza, who swiveled around a Triumph defender to find the goal once more. It marked Meza’s second brace of the early season, now tied for most braces in League One and second in the league’s Golden Boot race with 5 goals to his credit.
“I’m just glad to help the team in whatever way I can,” Meza said. “Happy to get two on the night.”
The Triumph refused to go away without a fight, able to claw back with two quick goals and tie the match at 3-3, including a penalty kick conversion in the 73rd minute and long-range volley in the 77th minute.
The Owls’ final chance of the night came in stoppage time, when Dolabella sent the Greenville goalkeeper diving to save a potential go-ahead goal in the final minutes. In the end, Omaha and Greenville split points, with the Owls extending their unbeaten streak to 5 matches.
“I thought it was we started off the game really strong,” Meza said. “We scored some really good team goals. It was unfortunate at the end to not close off the game, but we learn from it, and we get ready to go for Saturday’s next game.”
“We’re putting ourselves in good positions,” Doyle said. “It’s frustrating that we aren’t closing out games the way we should be at the moment, but besides that, we’re getting goals and happy for Noe to get another two.”
“It’s just about sticking to the program, sticking to the process, keeping belief in what we’re doing because you watch the football and some of it is incredible,” Union Omaha Head Coach Dominic Casciato said. “It’s super organized and tough to break down. But then in little moments, we’re having lapses, and that’s costing us now, so it’s just about sticking to the plan and staying focused and switched on mentally. And again, if we do that, then these ties will start turning into wins, and we’ll be sitting pretty in the table.”
The Owls will be right back at home at 7.p.m. Saturday, May 27 for another rivalry match-up against Forward Madison FC for One Means All Night.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us now to go ahead and play another big rival of ours from here in the Midwest,” Casciato said. “A game we always look forward to and I think the guys will realize, they’ll be disappointed tonight, dropping two points, but they’ll realize very, very quickly that tonight, we were super dominant and should have won the game comfortably, so they’ll take pride from that and move on to Saturday.”
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 Dominic Casciato on the field.