A series of first goals, including the first by a goalkeeper in USL League One history, helped Union Omaha to a 4-1 win over North Carolina FC on Saturday at Werner Park.

The win caps a week in which Los Buhos picked up seven points to move within a point of top spot in Ligue 1 by the end of the game, and also takes them to 11 games unbeaten.

Goalkeeper Kevin Piedrahita provided the theater almost immediately with the first goal scored by a goalkeeper in League One history and Union Omaha’s fastest goal.

Just 30 seconds into the game, the 30-year-old from Queens, NY sent a ball towards the opposite net. The ball sailed past North Carolina goaltender Nicholas Holliday and into the back of the net.

“I still can’t believe it, man, I’m still numb,” Piedrahita said. “I think I just wasn’t in the game because I didn’t believe it. It’s really crazy.”

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The substitute goalkeeper said being able to write history was a mental boost.

“As a substitute goalkeeper you have to be ready every time you’re on the pitch,” he said. “Rashid (Nuhu) and I, we’ve done a great job, we’ve been really good teammates and friends off the pitch ourselves. Winning the championship since last year has been amazing, the spirits here.”

Mims added that he was “super happy” for Piedrahita and finds the goal surreal.

“What a special day for him, I’m just happy for Kevin, proud of Kevin,” Mimsa said. “It was a moment you cherish… And then he made some major saves that kept us going early. It was a great game for him, I’m happy for him.”

Mims also said rotational ability, which was Union Omaha’s theme last week with three games in seven days, is needed to develop their depth and chemistry.

“We’re still trying to find our chemistry I would say, but more clicking and trying to figure out what combination works best because we struggled to score goals in some games,” he said. “It’s great, I think the guys are starting to find a rhythm and are starting to find a good couple, these guys had a great time together.”

From there, another long ball found recent signing Corey Hertzog, who stole a right-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

In the 17th minute, Noe Meza scored with a chipped shot after another long ball went past the North Carolina defense.

“The game plan, we knew there was space behind the opponent, and so me and Corey, we made sure one was always a bit below and the other was stretching the line. background,” Meza said. “And in goal, that’s what I thought. I checked my shoulder, the space was there and I raced and then I saw the keeper come out a bit, so I took him knocked above him and then he entered.”

Mims added that teams need to adapt to Los Buhos’ vertical, “100 miles per hour” tactics as North Carolina FC have changed their roster in an attempt to accommodate Los Buhos’ style of play.

“That was one of the plans with these two forwards (Meza and Hertzog) is to really play with three decently sized centre-backs and see if we can find space behind them and between them,” Mims said. . “Corey and Noe did a great job.”

Los Buhos took a 3-0 lead at half-time and added a fourth from a Meza header in the 59th minute for their fourth goal in three matches.

“The most important thing is that when the goals are going your way, they kind of find a way in anyway,” Meza said. “And the second goal, I think it was just more about being in the right place at the right time. We made some runs that we did and the game worked out pretty well.”

Mims added that Meza had a killer instinct and didn’t accept mediocrity.

“It’s not just him, but he’s leading this charge, he’s on the front line and Corey is helping,” Mims said.

Nelson Flores received the red card ahead of Meza’s second goal, and Britton Fisher was sent off after a second yellow in the 69th minute.

With a two-man advantage, Union Omaha gave up a late goal but saw off the rest of a 4-1 win to earn three points, taking their tally to 34 (8 wins, 10 draws, 2 losses) and in a tie temporary. with Richmond Kickers in second place in Ligue 1 (behind on a +12 to +9 goal difference).

Richmond’s game against Central Valley Fuego did not end on display.

Los Buhos drew the Kickers 1-1 on May 14, and Meza said they “really liked the pitch”.

“I think we have a much better team now, and we know we are playing for first place, so it will be a good game to prove our ability.”

Mims said his focus was the same as any other game, but expects the winning mentality that has prevailed since their 2-1 win over Charlotte Independence to persist.

“It was just a different mentality,” Mims said. “And you saw that approach again today from the first opening, not just the goal, 30 seconds later it was just a different approach. You saw the celebration where the guys did it and just the way they behave, I think I’ve talked about it before, it’s just more about us right now in this phase.”

In an important game for the USL League One race against Charlotte Independence, Union Omaha came back to win 2-1 at Werner Park on Wednesday night.

Los Buhos trailed Independence by one point early in the game and entered with a nine-game unbeaten streak.

“We don’t look ahead and who’s behind us,” head coach Jay Mims said. “We’re just going to control what we can control, game by game, and we know we’ve played fewer games than almost everyone, so yeah, three points is what you want to take home.”

The first half favored Union Omaha slightly, but the best chance came on a Charlotte Independence shot off the crossbar.

At half-time, Union Omaha replaced Kemal Malcolm with Noe Meza, who scored Los Buhos’ only goal in a 1-1 draw against Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC on Saturday August 13. Mims said Meza gave the Omaha Union a spark.

“Me and the other guys on the bench, we talked a lot during the first half,” Meza said. “It looked like space was definitely open to attack, we just needed a bit more energy and communication, and those were the two things I tried to bring onto the pitch once I got there. was substituted at half-time.”

Los Buhos conceded the first goal of Wednesday’s game with a penalty. Gabriel Cluadio fouled a Charlotte striker and Corey Bennett fired a right-footed shot into the top left corner of the net in the 51st minute.

The referee’s decision to award the penalty and celebration after upsetting the Union Omaha players, but Mims was grateful he had a “full half to respond”.

“Those 25, 30 minutes that followed were awesome,” he said.

But six minutes later, the sub Meza at half-time fired a left-footed shot into the bottom left corner of the net to level the game with a single shot.

“I think the goal was more of an effort than anything and then just being in the right place,” Meza said. “I’ve been feeling pretty good lately. So once I saw the ball bouncing in the box, as soon as it got close to me, I already knew where the goal was, so (I was looking) just to shoot hard at the target and then to see him go into the net.

The match reached a sort of stalemate for the next 10 minutes. But, in the 67th minute, Willis scored to put Union Omaha ahead.

A shot from the left just outside the penalty area found the back of the net and Willis fully bounced back after being cautioned.

“I tried my best to stay on the field, I tried my best to keep the lead in the game to not get a second yellow,” Willis said. “It’s great and good that Noe came to change the game, change the tempo, and I get another goal. It feels good.”

Mims added that he wanted hungry players on the pitch, and although he began to tire, a second wind led to Willis spreading the ball and eventually the winning goal after a “nice build-up” with 15-20 passes.

Willis also said the team’s ability to fight back comes from working hard in training and pushing each other in those moments.

“We pushed and fought hard and pushed and got the three points,” Willis said. “That’s a big part about it, we get the three points.”

“There have been a few times this season actually we’ve been behind and we’ve been able to find the goal,” Meza added. “So it’s something I think we’ve built on throughout the season and I think it just shows the character of the team and our ability to come back and win the game.”

Union Omaha finished with 15 shots, including seven on target, which Mims said was the most they had “in a while.” The last time Los Buhos had more than five shots on target was seven in a 3-2 win over South Georgia Tormenta FC on 25 June.


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