Photo by One Knox (@OneKnoxSC)
By Dominic Throngard
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – One Knoxville picked up a needed point in a tough-fought 1-1 draw against top-three side Charlotte Independence on Saturday night in Regal Soccer Stadium.
The first half saw both sides being content to feel the other out as action remained subdued with few highlights. Knoxville had a great opportunity on a free kick just outside the eighteen but failed to convert early in the first half, but it was about all the action that was seen with the sides combining for 6 shots and 4 corners. The focus on mistake-free football certainly didn’t make for an entertaining watch, but the mode of operation rang clear for the night, neither side was going to make their move until the other slipped up.
Manager of One Knoxville SC Mark Mckeever made it clear prior to the contest that his message for the team at the tail end of the season was to continue to focus on cleaning up unforced errors and his side was up to the task. With regards to Charlotte, he knew the quality of the side with top players having played in major professional leagues throughout the world including the MLS and Premiership.
And as fate would have it, an unforced error would spell disaster again for Knoxville. Disaster struck in minute 66 as Gabriel Claudio slid in to clear a shot that looked to potentially be going just wide and redirected it emphatically into his own net. The team had played phenomenally clean up until that point, but that one moment of weakness cost them greatly. For the rest of the half Knoxville was able to retain their composure and it paid off. The team was able to dramatically put one into the back of the net thanks to Dani Fernandez and make things level just before the death in minute 88.
All things considered, a great result for a Knoxville side fighting to stay in the playoff race and keep their form against a top-three side. The team continues to fight on in year one.
Catch One Knoxville in action again next against South Georgia Tormenta on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET away from home.