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Union Omaha Dominates Possession But Early Goal Gives Greenville the Victory

By Will Clarke, 10/09/21, 9:30PM CDT

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PAPILLION, Neb. – Union Omaha’s start to this match, in front of a new record crowd, was about as auspicious as trying to fly with clipped wings, and took the entire first half to get off the ground. Even then, though, it was nothing doing against their rivals from South Carolina. 

An early goal from Greenville’s top scorer, Marios Lomis, put Omaha in a tough position from the off, with the rest of the first half more just whittling away time than really threatening to equalize. The second 45 minutes started far better thanks to key substitutions. Yet, after a storm by the name of Evan Conway besieged the Triumph backline early on in the half, Greenville weathered the rest of the match to earn all three points.

“It was a very frustrating game for us,” said Head Coach Jay Mims. “It was one-way traffic the entire match. The game was going towards Greenville’s goal the entire match, which is nice to see. In about 96, 97 minutes of play, we gave up one shot on goal the entire game.” 

Greenville seemed to have little problem adjusting to the narrow pitch at Werner Park, and that was proven by their 13th minute goal. They’re a squad that loves to use the flanks, and when a Jesus Ibarra cross ended up at the feet of Marios Lomis, he made no mistake in stabbing it home off the volley. 

From there, the first half only had about half a chance for Union Omaha to score, with hardly any service into their reserve strike partnership of Nicolas Firmino and Austin Panchot. 66% possession resulted in only 5 shots, none on target. One of those shots came 30 seconds into the match, and another was a chested-down Conor Doyle volley with the last kick of the half. Between that? They got nothing going on the attack.

Mims wasted no time making changes, substituting both Evan Conway and Greg Hurst on for the full second half. While they didn’t immediately pay dividends on the scoreboard, the field definitely tilted towards the Greenville half early on. Conway especially provided a spark, combining with teammates and inching closer and closer to a goal. Once he missed on a 360 degree turn-and-fire by about a post’s width, though, the match was brought back down to a simmer.

Omaha retained possession well, but true chances were few and far between, or in Greg Hurst’s case, well offside. The defending title-holders bunkered down well after Evan Conway had his fun early in the second 45, and saw the game out in a professional, if occasionally cynical, manner. 

“It felt like we were going against 11 defenders the entire game… sometimes 12 defenders,” Coach Mims lamented. “It leaves a sour taste in your mouth after tonight, because of how frustrating the game went. But like I told the guys, sometimes you have to feel that frustration and feel that pain because there might be a chance to play a team like that again.”

The situation atop the table tightens up, between this result and Chattanooga’s win earlier in the day. The gap between first and second is merely a point, though Omaha carries a game in hand to be played in a week and a half’s time. Greenville themselves close up to 5 points behind Chattanooga for that second bye in the playoffs, and extend their unbeaten streak to six matches now. Omaha can still clinch a spot in the playoffs should North Texas SC fail to win against Richmond Kickers in their match on Sunday. 

“We’re not gonna let a good week get us down,” said Mims. “It’s tough when you have three games in about seven days. It’s very, very challenging, and for the boys to grab a huge win on the road and a huge mid-week win at home, we’ve put ourselves in a really good position.”

Union Omaha will keep their homestand rolling next weekend, with a full week’s rest this time. Not only that, but this next match will come against cellar-dwellers North Carolina FC. NCFC are not only on a four-match losing streak after falling at home in that match against Chattanooga, but have already been eliminated from an otherwise remarkably tight playoff race. The matchup against them will take place on Saturday October 16th at 6:00 PM CDT.

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Union Omaha vs Greenville Triumph SC

Werner Park (Papillion, NE)

Goals by Half                          1    2    F

Union Omaha                          0    0    0

Greenville Triumph                  1    0    1

Scoring Summary:

OMA: 

GVL: Marios Lomis 13’

Misconduct Summary:

OMA: Conor Doyle (Yellow Card) 72’, Tobias Otieno (Yellow Card) 78’

GVL: Andrew Booth (Yellow Card) 69’, Max Hemmings (Yellow Card) 88’

Statistical Summary:

Shots (on goal): OMA: 13 (2); GVL: 7 (1) 

Saves: OMA: Rashid Nuhu – 0; GVL: Paul Christensen – 2 

Possession: OMA 67.6% – GVL 32.4%

Fouls: OMA 18; GVL 16 

Corner Kicks: OMA 6; GVL 4 

Attendance: 3,884

Lineups

OMA: GK, Nuhu; D, Viader; D, Osumanu; D, Knutson (Molina 84’); D, Sousa; M, Scearce (Alihodžić 75’); M, Otieno; M, Doyle; M, Boyce; F, Firmino (Hurst 45’); F, Panchot (Conway 45’)

GVL: GK, Christensen; D, Polak; D, Lee; D, Fricke; D, Mohamed; M, Walker; M, Hemmings; M, Booth (Murillo 90+5’); F, Gavilanes; F, Lomis (Goodall 81’); F, Ibarra (McLean 45’)

All game stats are unofficial.