Once again the Otters fought for 90 minutes but ended up on the wrong end of a one-goal result. The Otters were down at halftime, but fought back to equalize early in the second half, only to see the SC United Bantams score the winner in the 72nd minute.
The Otters started the game determined to be the aggressor in the game. The front five of Tresor Mbuyu (Liberty), Dion Peters (Charleston), Jake Gusler (DC United Academy), Mateo Garcés (Pfeiffer), and Camilo Benitez (Sporting KC Academy) all pushed forward in the attack from the opening whistle. The hard work paid off as the Otters earned several corner kicks and dangerous free kicks in the opening 20 minutes of the match. However, the Otters could not get the opening goal.
The Bantams eventually settled into the game and created some chances of their own. In the 31st minute the Bantams were awarded an indirect free kick just outside the Otters six-yard box and Leandro Browne of the Bantams stepped up and promptly scored to give South Carolina a 1-0 lead.
The Bantams had a few more chances near the end of the half but the Bantams went into halftime with the one-goal advantage.
The Otters came out ready to score again in the second half, and this time they did! The sequence started when goalkeeper Jake Chasteen (Appalachian State) made a save and quickly played the ball out to Gusler. Jake Gulser then ran nearly fifty yards before playing the ball to Mbuyu. Mbuyu then perfectly played in Garcés who slotted it past the Bantams keeper to tie the game.
From that point on, the game was wide open, with both teams pushing for the winner. Unfortunately, the Bantams were able to go ahead for good when Bantams forward Anson Girone beat his defender to score. The Otters threw numbers forward to try and find the equalizer again, but could not, and lost their sixth game by one goal.
The Otters saw a strong shift from 17-year-old Jake Gusler on the wing. Gusler helped play a key role in the early attacking force and also played a major role in the Otters goal. This game also marked the 13th appearance for Dion Stergiotis (Carson-Newman), which sets the Otters single-season appearance record.
The Otters will travel to Georgia on Saturday to face Tormenta FC to close out their record-setting season.