By Alex McLoughlin/Asheville City SC
Asheville City SC advanced to the Southeast Conference Final with a 1-0 victory over Greenville
FC in Chattanooga.
Neither side had bested the other this season with draws in both meetings. Obviously, a draw
was impossible this time. The match began with the same erratic style of play from the first two
meetings. In the fifth minute, Nathan Watt sent a great ball over the top to Hady Sarr, who
wasn’t able to keep his shot on target.
Greenville got a great look at goal two minutes later when Asheville City defender Jamie Smith
misplayed the ball and allowed a shot from David Koprowski. Luckily for the Blues, Koprowski
didn’t get the right touch on it and it pattered out harmlessly for a goal kick.
Another moment came for Asheville City in the 11 th minute when Aris Briggs sent a dangerous
shot off the side netting. The Blues’ offense was able to make precise passes in midfield but
couldn’t convert them into quality chances.
Greenville dominated the attacks on goal, but none were on target. Asheville City goalkeeper
Pijus Petkevicius dealt with the rare shot that sent on target. The Blues went back on the attack
in the 29 th minute as midfielder Chris Allan found himself with space, but his shot was well over
Koprowski found himself in on goal and would’ve had the opening goal in the 34 th minute if it
hadn’t been for a critical Petkevicius save. Left back Dylan Burke made his way into the box in
the 39 th minute and sent a strong shot at goal that Greenville goalkeeper Paul Tyson corralled.
Neither side was able to muster much in the remaining minutes of the first half.
Halftime came with a familiar 0-0 score line as both locker rooms searched for their potential
The Blues ramped up their offensive efforts in the second half. A Nick Adamczyk cross just
glanced off Watt’s head in the 62 nd minute. Asheville City saw more of the ball and created
quicker and more efficient scoring chances.
After a near own-goal from Greenville, Allan found himself one-on-one in a race for the ball
with Tyson in the 75 th minute. Tyson was able to get enough on it before Allan could chip it into
the net. Asheville City got closer and closer, but nothing got over the line before regulation
After a 0-0 draw in the previous meeting, the teams found themselves with the same score
heading into extra time. Asheville City began the first 15 minutes of extra time with the ball at
its feet. A Smith header came tantalizingly close in the 94 th minute as it was just over the bar.
The chances for the Blues came as they had in regulation, but these chances had some potency
behind them. It seemed a goal was coming but it wasn’t going to be simple. Asheville City
earned a corner in the 105 th minute that was initially cleared away. Adamczyk was able to bring
it down and send it toward the box where the ball took a slight deflection off a head in the box
before Smith snuck around his defender to head home the opening goal.
The Asheville City bench erupted in euphoria, but the job wasn’t done. Greenville had 15
minutes to try and find an equalizer to force penalties.
The Blues were more than ready for the challenge. The backline bent a bit but didn’t snap. A
hoard of green shirts swarmed the Asheville box and were close to goal but Petkevicius was
fouled before the ball could cross the line.
A clever dummy from Koprowski in the 115 th minute caught the Blues’ defense off-guard but
Petkevicius pounced on the ball before any damage could be done. Greenville earned a corner in
the third minute of added time and it would be their last chance to equalize. Everyone was in the
box, but it was the boys in blue who won the header and sent it away as the official blew his
whistle for full time.
Asheville City had escaped with a 1-0 win which was only the second loss for Greenville all
season. It was also the first win over Greenville in club history. The Blues will look for another
first as they take on Chattanooga FC in the conference final.
Photo Credit: Tori Heck