Union Omaha enters postseason as top seed in second year of existence

Posted at 10:29 AM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 11:29:52-04

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — It’s been a special season on the soccer pitch for Union Omaha.

“I don’t know if anybody thought that we would be there in year two, but we’ve been doing things right and things have been working out for us,” Union Omaha General Manager Peter Marlette said.

In just its second year in existence Union Omaha has wrapped up regular season play at the top of the United Soccer League (USL) League I standings.

“It’s a wonderful accomplishment and you should always celebrate that, because it’s hard to do,” Union Omaha Head Coach Jay Mims said. “Some guys do it multiple times in their career and some guys never do it.”

“We’re just really proud of everything that the players, the technical staff, the front office, and the fans have done to get here so far,” Marlette said.

Not to mention its first season came during the peak of the pandemic.

“For your first season in existence to be last year, it’s so impressive that the club was even able to field a team,” Marlette said.

This success didn’t come out of nowhere though. Last year the team made it to the championship game, but was never able to take the field to play for the title.

“If not for a COVID outbreak, we would’ve been playing in the League I Final last year,” Marlette said.

“We definitely felt like we were handed short last year, so for us to do it this year is amazing for us,” Union Omaha Defender and Team Captain Panzani Sousa said.

The team has been on a mission to get back to that game this year. They finished with a plus-22 goal differential. The next best in the league was 14 goals behind.

They led the league in goals allowed per game and are the only team with multiple players that have scored ten or more goals this season.

That success has given them the top seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye. On top of that, home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Its first game will be the first professional playoff game in the state of Nebraska.

The team says playing at home in Werner Park will be a huge advantage.

“As long as our fans get out there and as long as they’re passionate, I promise you it impacts the result on the field,” Marlette said.

“We’ve had great numbers in attendance compared to other teams in the league all year. We finished first in our league in home attendance, so I know our fans are ready for us to get a postseason match and they want to keep on supporting us,” Mims said. “Hopefully, we have two more games left at home and we want everybody in the community to come out and support us, it’s been great so far.”

They’re just one win away from getting back to that title game for a chance to raise the trophy. A win that would mean a ton to the organization, which says they want it just as bad for the city and fans.

“Omaha is special, so it would be nice to wrap up the season here in year two with a title,” Mims said. “I think it would be amazing for a lot of people including our city.”

The semifinal game will be played at Werner Park Saturday, November 13 at 4 p.m.

With a win, the championship will take place the following weekend at Werner Park once again. The time has yet to be determined.

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