By Scott Adamson
Greenville FC has earned a share of the spoils in its last three matches at Eugene Stone Stadium.
Tonight would be an opportune time to take all three points in the friendly confines.
With just two home matches left and four remaining in its National Premier Soccer League schedule, GVLFC faces the New Orleans Jesters (5-2-3) at 7 p.m. in a crucial showdown. Lee Squires’ club is currently seventh in the standings at 3-3-4, and sitting three points out of sixth place.
The top six teams in the Southeast Conference Division of the NPSL South Region make the playoffs.
“We are in no position to talk about playoffs,” Squires said earlier today. “We know we control our own destiny still, and that there is so much left to play for, but it’s one game at time starting with New Orleans, and trying to earn three points.”
Greenville is coming off a 1-0 road victory over Asheville SC last Saturday, a clash that served as the first leg of the inaugural “Carolina Clasico.”
Not only did French forward Ismael Noumansana come off the bench to notch the game-winner in the 76th minute, goalkeeper Austin Mullins got the clean sheet – the team’s first shutout of the season.
“That first clean sheet is definitely welcoming,” Squires said. “We made a change in goal with Austin Mullins coming in, and while Austin played well, any clean sheet is a collective effort.”
Winning a rivalry game in a hostile environment was the headline from Saturday, however.
“The Asheville game is one our players, fans, and coaches will remember for a while,” Squires said. “The atmosphere was unbelievable and added to the occasion. Our boys fought hard for 90-plus minutes to earn the points, which we needed.”
With the schedule winding down so is the energy level of the players, who are forced to grind through the last part of the regular season in oppressive heat.
“Our training time has gone down as a result of all the games; we’re literally in a cycle of Sunday and Monday off, Tuesday preparation, Wednesday game, Thursday off, Friday preparation, Saturday game, and on repeat for the rest of the season.”
Tonight the cycle shifts to game mode against the Jesters, a squad Greenville topped 2-1 in The Big Easy on May 19 for the first victory in franchise history. Nola, coached by Kenny Farrell, is currently one point off the top of the table following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Inter Nashville FC.
Chattanooga FC (5-3-2) leads the way with 18 points.
“We can’t read too much into last time out against New Orleans,” Squires said. “Our 11 will be different, formation likely different, and I’m sure they won’t be exactly the same as when we played them before. We’ll just prepare as we always do, and try to execute our game plan.”