In complete contrast from Georgia Revolution FC’s visit to Asheville four days prior, the weather at Henry County High School leading up to kickoff was hot and dry. The result, however, was the same – a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.
In similar fashion to the recent clash between these two teams, the opening portion of the match saw lots of back-and-forth action with both sides looking to establish a rhythm. There was always a sense that either team could break away and score the first goal, but strong defensive positioning shut out all early opportunities.
Scoring opened in the 16th minute when a Revs forward was able to find his way to the corner of Parker Sigfried’s goal box before rolling a slow shot out of the goalkeeper’s reach. The attempt would have found its way into the goal had it not been reached at the last moment by a recovering Blues defender, but the attempted clearance was sent straight into another Revs attacker who was able to then score on an open goal with ease. The score was Georgia Revolution FC 1, Asheville City SC 0.
Perhaps inspired by the goal advantage, the Revs controlled much of the next fifteen minutes, but a more composed Sigfried was able to deal with the attempts via two spectacular diving saves.
Asheville City SC equalized in the 29th minute when Tom Deeley played a lofted through ball to right-winger Bruno Andrade who then cut inside with the ball and returned a perfectly weighted left-footed cross to Deeley’s head. The Revs’ goalkeeper was able to get fingertips to the header, but the effort was just enough as the ball found the upper right corner. The score was now level at 1-1.
Just a minute later, in the 30th, Elma N’For comes close to adding another Asheville goal but his shot skims past the face of goal and results in a Georgia goal kick.
In the 42nd minute N’For was given a red card for contact with a Revs defender. Asheville City would have to see out the remainder of the game with a man-disadvantage.
Right before the half, Georgia Revolution FC thought they had taken the lead but an offside call meant the goal was disallowed. The referee blew his whistle moments later and both teams headed to the locker rooms on an equal scoreline.
Asheville City SC resumed play at the start of the second half a man down, but played the remaining 45 minutes as if the two teams had equal numbers on the field.
The first fifteen minutes of the second half saw the Revs lead attacking play, but the Blues were able to take back control of the match through a host of substitutions between the 60th minute and 78th minute. Frank Rosenwald, Nathan Watt, Hector Gutierrez, Dante Bova, and Bailey Spade all made second-half appearances for the Blues – each looking to help solidify the Asheville effort – and the away side adopted an attacking mentality for the final fifteen as Bova, traditionally a center back, was sent up top to utilize his 6’9” height in front of goal.
Three times Bova nearly found the lead. His first attempt came from a tight angle on the right side of goal where he blasted a shot across the face of goal an out of the stadium. Minutes later, in the 84th, Bova’s height advantage and positioning enabled him to meet a cross at the edge of the Revs’ goal box, but his headed shot went just inches over the crossbar and behind for a goal kick. Shortly after that, Bova received the ball in the box and faced what looked to be a clear opportunity against the Revs’ keeper, but his shot was sent just wide of the post on the wrong side.
In the first minute of added time, Sigfried made perhaps his best stop of the night as he rushed the incoming Revs attacker and made a sliding save to deflect the shot out for a throw-in. The effort ensured a draw on the night as the final whistle was blown soon after.
In what can be seen as a defensive rally to recover from the man-disdvantage, Asheville City SC did well to shutout the home side in the second half but was unable to convert any of their own chances after Deeley’s equalizer in the first half. After playing twice in four days, Asheville City SC and Georgia Revolution FC manage to end both nights with a 1-1 scoreline.
Contributor: Asheville City SC
Photo Credit: Aidan McCarthy