PAPILLON, Neb. – Union Omaha clinched the regular season title and homefield advantage throughout the USL League One playoffs after a cagey 2-0 win over the Richmond Kickers at Werner Park on Saturday night.
Omaha entered the match atop the table despite a loss Wednesday night knowing that a victory would secure the No. 1 seed in the postseason. The match was finely balanced until late when Tobias Otieno’s free kick but the home team ahead in the 85th minute. Greg Hurst scored just three minutes later to put the match out of reach for Richmond.
Otieno entered the match in the 16th minute as an injury replacement for Devin Boyce and made the most of his opportunity. It was his right-footed free kick from about 25 yards out that beat Kickers goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald with less than five minutes to play.
Hurst doubled the lead in the 88th minute by beating the offside trap and calmly looping his shot over Fitzgerald.
Richmond had entered the match as the hottest team in the league on a five-match winning streak, but suffered its first defeat since September 17. The Kickers will wrap the regular season next weekend with a road trip to FC Tucson.
The result means Omaha can afford to rotate for next weekend’s regular season finale in Arlington against North Texas SC.
USLLeagueOne.com Player of the Match
Tobias Otieno, Union Omaha – Came off the bench and scored the game-winning goal with a perfectly-placed free kick with less than five minutes to play.
OMA (85’) – Otieno
OMA (88) – Hurst, assisted by Knutson