Asheville City SC played a great match and created numerous chances but were unable to respond to a late goal that gave Greenville FC the 1-0 win in the first leg of the Carolina Classico.
The Blues came into the match with solid momentum after knocking off a talented Inter Nashville FC side. The match started with successive Asheville City attacks, including a dangerous Bruno Andrade corner that Jamie Smith wasn’t able to get to.
After being on the offensive for the first 10 minutes, it was Greenville’s turn to attack. The visitors launched a ball from long range that seemed dangerous but ended with a whimper.
The Blues got a great look at goal in the 22nd minute when Elliott Cutts sent a long ball into the box for the waiting Ruairi Croskery, but his header ricocheted off of a Greenville defender for a corner. Just a minute later, Andrade sent a powerful shot towards the goal, but the visiting goalkeeper was able to get in the way.
After Greenville attempted another long-range effort, the Blues shot down the wing to earn themselves another corner. The resulting kick into the box met the feet of several Asheville City attackers, all of whom were unable to steer the ball into the net.
Greenville looked to have the first goal of the match in the 40th minute when they found themselves on a breakaway, but the attacker sent the ball just inches wide of the left post. The Blues responded with a would-be goal of their own when Cutts found some space in the box but sent his shot too wide. Minutes later, the halftime whistle blew with a 0-0 deadlock.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first; with a pressing Asheville City attack. Both Andrade and Cutts send curlers toward goal but neither forced the goalkeeper off of his line. From there, Greenville began their second half advance and earned a dangerous free kick at the edge of the box. Greenville curled the ensuing kick over the Asheville City wall, but Parker Siegfried made a fantastic sprawling save to keep the visitors out of the score column.
Just one minute later, the Blues had their best goal-scoring chance of the match when Andrade sped past every green-shirted obstacle before whipping in a ball to the feet of Kristian Moore- Cowell, who sent it just wide.
Asheville City would regret not converting that chance when the Blues’ backline was unable to clear a 76th minute corner that Ismael Noumansana calmly put in the back of the net. The goal proved to be a death blow as the Asheville City attack wasn’t able to get an equalizer after several free kick and corner opportunities.
The Blues will have almost a week off before facing another stiff test when they host the New Orleans Jesters on Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Contributor: Alex McLoughlin/Asheville City SC
Photo Credit: Shane Burke