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 Union Omaha

Spoils Shared as Owls Stymied in Attack

April 22, 2024 - United Soccer League One (USL1)
Union Omaha News Release

PAPILLION, Neb. - Union Omaha came in looking to avenge their playoff defeat, but with absences depleting their squad early on, the best they could come out with was a hard-fought draw.

While it was understandably a bit flat, given the teams' hard-fought history and the midweek matches they endured, Head Coach Dominic Casciato spoke postmatch about his chagrin with the result.

"Disappointing one today. I think both teams were tired. We maybe allowed the game to become a little bit too stretched, and didn't do enough in the final third to win the game. I think we need to do a little more to earn it, but we brush ourselves off and look forward to the first cup game in ten days' time."

For the first time this season, Union Omaha well and truly dominated the possession game. They finished with over 65% of the ball, along with 81% passing accuracy. However, that rate dipped to a tick over 65% accuracy in Charlotte's half, a number that worsened as the game wore on.

Joe Gallardo, at least, was intent on putting Omaha up by any means. He took a couple shots from distance in the first half that gave opposing goalkeeper Austin Pack a little spook, while his absolutely audacious attempt at a juggle into a bicycle kick not long after floated just over the crossbar.

It was definitely a match where the 120 minutes played on Wednesday showed, though. Given the absences of key players Dos Santos, PC, and Malone, it put even more wear on the rest of the squad as well.

"Overall it was a good game from the team. We need to put our chances away and win at home, but it was a quick turnaround against El Paso, and every point is important in this league," said midfielder Pedro Dolabella afterward. The Brazilian provided maybe the best chance of the game for Omaha in the 60th minute, when his back post charge saw him fire a point-blank shot that hit both Pack and the post before ricocheting away.

Some of the second half subs provided flashes of attacking impetus. A few threatening moves came from Adam Aoumaich, building off his debut on Wednesday with a litany of cuts inside from the left flank. Missael Rodriguez made for an even more attacking formation when he replaced Dolabella, occasionally combining with Aoumaich to try and get in behind the stalwart Independence defense.

Despite nearly hitting 70% possession for the game at one point, though, the chilly Nebraskan wind never really went into the Owls' sails. 27.3% accuracy on crosses says it all, though paradoxically, corner kicks may have been their most consistent threat of the night. Charlotte had sparks on the counter-attack, but Rashid Nuhu only had one or two difficult saves to make on the day.

Dolabella summed it up as such:

"We were all waiting for this game, especially with how last season ended, having so many chances and not being able to finish. Obviously we want to win every game here, but we have a few days off to rest now and get everybody healthy, and then we go full power."

Speaking of, while the home opener is finally behind us, there's a tripleheader on the horizon. Their next match will be their first in the new USL Jägermeister Cup, taking on Northern Colorado Hailstorm at 6:30 PM. After that is a regular season matchup against South Georgia Tormenta FC on May 4th, featuring Star Wars Night and a Fireworks show. The big one, of course, comes May 8th at Caniglia Field, where Union Omaha will be hosting Sporting Kansas City. Talk about full power!

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