It was another late goal, this time deep into stoppage, that saw the Otters lose in heartbreaking fashion. The West Virginia Chaos were able to use a goal in the 93rd minute to secure a 2-1 win over the Otters at home. The loss dropped the Otters record to 3-7-2 and was their fifth one-goal loss of the season.
The game got off to a rapid start when the West Virginia goalie went to clear a ball and drove it straight into the closing Tresor Mbuyu (Liberty). The ball ricocheted off Mbuyu and he calmly blasted it home to give the Otters a 1-0 lead just ten seconds into the game.
The Otters continued to press for a second goal, but couldn’t quite break through. The Chaos were able to equalize in the 30th minute, when Eddie Milien got the ball at the top of the box and ripped the volley past Carlos Rubio (Ohio Valley).
The Otters nearly scored right before halftime, but the Chaos were able to defend it and the teams headed to the locker rooms tied at one.
The second half was played at a frenetic pace, as both teams traded dangerous chances all half. Rubio, and Chaos ‘keeper Kieran Harrison both made crucial saves to keep the game level.
The final few minutes of the match saw the Otters create three to four near chances. Substitutes Mateo Garcés (Pfeiffer), Jake Gusler (DC United Academy), and Henrique Cardoso (Montreat), were able to work with Mbuyu to get three shots off in the final minutes.
The Chaos earned a late corner, and although the initial cross was dealt with, the Chaos were able to send in a second cross that pinged around the box until Milien hit it home for the winner and his second of the day.
Despite the loss, the Otters were able to showcase a number of the younger players on the roster. Seventeen-year-old midfielder Camilo Benitez (Sporting KC Academy) made his Otters debut and played 64 minutes, recording one shot. The 18-man roster also featured six players under the age of twenty-years-old!
On the records side, Dion Stergiotis (Carson-Newman) became the first ever Otter to log over 1,000 minutes in a season and is one appearance from breaking the season appearance record for the team with 13 caps. Sia Jamehdar (Lander) also moved into third in minutes for a season by an Otter. Garcés logged two more shots Saturday night, moving him behind only Stergiotis for most career shots. Also, despite picking up the loss, Rubio recorded the second most saves in a game by an Otter after stopping nine shots.
The Otters will close out their season with two games on the road next week against Tormenta FC and the SC United Bantams.