Can Lexington finally get a road win in a rematch against the Owls?
Coach Stockley and the Boys in Green have a tough 2 match week ahead of them, all on the road. Tomorrow night, they travel out to Werner Park in Omaha to take on the Owls with just 1 match played by both sides since their last match on July 22nd; the match is scheduled to kickoff at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST. The boys will then travel out to league leaders Northern Colorado on Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for 9 pm EST/8 pm CST.
However, let’s take this one game at a time. Union Omaha (7-7-5, 6th in USL1 with 28 pts) enter into this match nearly identical to how they came into Toyota just 2 weeks ago – off an extra-time winner in their last match (this time at home). Lexington SC (4-6-9, 10th in USL1 with 18 pts) enter into this match looking very different from how they did 2 weeks ago, having started an unbeaten streak (yes, only 2 games, but they had lost the previous 4 in a row).
Tomorrow night’s match has the potential to be a fantastic match full of a lot of tension, with the Owls looking for revenge at home after Lexington blew the doors off them 3-0 in their last matchup. The Owl’s offense is still very dangerous, having scored 9 goals across their last 5 matches (including getting shutout by Lexington and NoCo). Still, they are particularly dangerous at home in Werner Park, scoring 10 more goals than on the road in one less match played, and have not lost at home in 4 straight matches. Coach Dominic Casciato also has a host of attacking talent at his disposal, which could be trouble for Lexington, especially if the Owls can get 17 shots on target as they did in the match at Toyota – do not bank on the attacking coming up short again Lexington fans, primarily since their leading goal scorer Noe Meza has not found the back of the net in 4 straight matches.
However, the Owls could be better and have some flaws, particularly in their defense shown in their last match. Similar to Lexington’s old defensive issues when they ran a 4-4-2, Omaha’s defenders let South Georgia attackers move into their zone without applying pressure, leading to Tormenta tying the match with 2 unanswered goals within 20 minutes of each in the 2nd half.
I know Lexington fans (myself especially) are desperate to get a road win or, at minimum, some points on the road since the club is 0-2-7 with just 2 points away from Toyota all season, but I believe this is a matchup that could earn the club their first road win. Yes, Omaha is still dangerous, and Coach Stockely will not have the luxury of springing a new formation on the Owls (at least not with a 3-day turnaround), but Lexington has looked like a new team in this 3-5-2 formation. Omaha has conceded a goal in their last 5 matches, while Lexington has scored in 14 straight matches. Additionally, I feel that Stockley has found both his midfield 3 (Dlamini, Smart, and Machell) and backline 3 (Fox, Murillo Jr., and Gonzalez), solidifying a 4-headed attack with Terique Mohammed and Tate Robertson being the conductors allowing Ates Diouf and Nico Brown to bury balls in the back of the net. If Lexington can play as they did for the entirety of the Omaha match and the last 75 minutes of the Richmond game, this could be a statement game to the rest of the league going into the season’s final stretch.
Still, the Boys in Green need a full 90 to make that statement; they must avoid having a 15-20 minute stretch like the start of the Kickers’ match against the Owls because Omaha will make them pay for it. If Lexington wants any shot at the playoffs this year, they need to get points on the road, where 7 of their remaining 13 matches will be played. Picking up even just 2-3 wins out of those 7 matches will go a long way for a playoff push if Lexington also keeps their home form.
Player to Watch
Tate Robertson – has been crucial to the Lexington attack all season, leading the team with 5 assists (3 more than anyone else) and good enough for being tied for 3rd in the league. Robertson has also been crucial in creating opportunities for Lexington, creating 8 big chances (also good for 3rd in the league), 4 more than anyone else in the club, and 35 chances overall – 15 more than anyone else on the team! Stats do not lie, and even without stats, it is apparent to those who watch the club that Robertson is crucial to the Lexington attack that thrived on the wings against Omaha.
John Scearce – is Omaha’s highest-rated player on the season, according to Fotmob, averaging a rating of 7.53. Often in the shadow of Omaha star Meza, many opposing fans overlook Scearce, who has done it all for Los Búhos as a midfielder who plays a more defensive role at times, and often on the same side as Meza. Lexington does a great job at neutralizing team stars, but they leave themselves exposed to be beaten by the unlikely hero for other teams, do not be surprised if Scearce is that hero for Omaha.
Union Omaha 1 – 1 Lexington SC
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