It was a wild one in West Virginia Wednesday night, but after two stoppage time goals the Otters were able to secure only their second-ever road point. The game was a very up-and-down affair that saw the Otters concede two first half goals, and then a controversial penalty late, to push the scoreline to 3-1. However, the Otters were able to claw back, and the winner came in the 94th minute off of the head of Diego Thielen (Ohio Valley).
It was all Otters from the opening whistle, with Ayuk Tambe (Tusculum) and Lévy-Aquilas Nsimba (France) troubling the Chaos on the edge, continually using their speed to get to the end line and earn corners. The Otters nearly had the opener in the 14th minute after a header from Taylor Gray (Lees-McRae) off of a Jeremy De Hoog (Rio Grande University) corner kick was cleared off the line.
Defensively, Tyler Pavlet (Lees-McRae) was able to make a few tough saves to keep things level early. The Chaos controlled the final 30 minutes of the half, and were able to capitalize on two defensive miscues to take a 2-0 lead into the half.
The Otters came out in the second half aiming to get back into the game, and the first breakthrough came in the 60th minute when Mehdi Chtara (France) took on his defender one-on-one, left him in the dust, and blasted the ball into the roof of the net for a 2-1 score.
The game continued to get even more physical from that point on. Around the 72nd minute Thielen and a Chaos attacker were battling for a ball off of a set piece. Thielen ended up on the ground but the referee deemed it a penalty for the Chaos. On the ensuing PK, Pavlet guessed right, but the shot was too well placed for him to reach.
The Otters dominated possession for the rest of the game, pouring numbers forward to try and make something happen. In the 90th minute, Blake Barribeau (Palm Beach Atlantic) played a ball into the box that eventually fell to Guillermo Segovia (Ohio Valley) who slotted the ball past the Chaos goalkeeper to make it 3-2 with four minutes to go.
Troy Brady (Canisius) was nearly able to find the equalizer a couple minutes later after blazing past his defender. The Otters earned a late corner and brought everyone forward to try and get the goal. De Hoog played in a great ball that was flicked off the head of goalkeeper Tyler Pavlet to Diego Thielen, who was able to get sweet, sweet, justice for the earlier penalty call by burying the header at the death for the 3-3 draw.
It was a resilient performance by the Otters to fight back and earn the point on the road. They will look to carry that momentum into Saturday when they face the Carolina Dynamo in Greensboro, NC at 7:00 PM in Macpherson Stadium. The Otters are just two weeks away from their home opener, when current division leaders Mississippi Brilla come to town on June 8th at Kermit-Tipton Stadium. You can purchase tickets online at www.ottersoccer.com/2018-game-tickets or by using the HappsNow app! Follow Tri-Cities FC on social media for updates about the team and upcoming events! #FearTheFur