The Knoxville Force continued to solidify their first-place Eastern Division standing in the National Premier Soccer League’s Southeastern Conference with a home win Tuesday night over the Birmingham Hammers, 6-2.

The Force’s Juan Zapata knocked in the first goal of the game with a corner kick in the 27th minute. Almost immediately, Zapata’s teammate Tim Baker scored for the Force in the 28th minute, quickly putting up Knoxville 2-0.

Just before halftime in the 41st minute, Jack Ball scored for Birmingham, making it 2-1.

Knoxville’s Ashley Kelynack scored coming back from the half with an upper 90 goal, putting the Force up 3-1 in the 49th minute.

Birmingham’s Jack Ball scored his second point of the night, and the final point for the Hammers, in the 62nd minute, making 3-2.

Three additional points followed for Knoxville, with Kalulu Bamba scoring in the 69th minute, Rury Alvarez in the 71st minute, and Ashley Kelynack scored his second goal of the game in the 75th minute, putting the Force up for the 6-2 final score.

“This was another great win for our team, but we’ve still got two regular season games ahead of us,” said Knoxville Force general manager Derrick Long. “The guys need to stay focused and do well on the road to stay strong headed into the playoffs.”

Knoxville travels to play Georgia Revolution FC on July 1, followed a week later by a trip across the state to take on Memphis City FC July 8.

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