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The midfielder played for the first time for the USL League One side nine months after signing a contract with them

Kenyan midfielder Tobias Otieno made his long-awaited Union Omaha debut in a 3-2 win against Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.

The win saw Otieno’s side end a three-match losing streak which was largely threatening their season. Ethan Vanacore-Decker, Austin Panchot and Evan Conway were Union Omaha’s scorers in a tense night while Eduardo Sosa and Felipe Valencia were scorers of Fort Lauderdale as they failed to capitalise on their opponents struggle to win the game.

Panchot scored the opener for Otieno’s side when he swiftly moved behind Fort Lauderdale defenders and slotted home in the 25th minute.

Sosa scored before the half-time break to ensure the scoreboard read 1-1 but Conway – who had assisted in the making of the opener – gave Union Omaha the lead once again in the 47th minute.

Eight minutes after the visitors had snatched the lead again, Fort Lauderdale equalised from Valencia but Ethan Vanacore-Decker’s 84th-minute move broke their hearts more as the forward gave Otieno’s side a late win.

Ethan Vanacore-Decker broke the tie after engineering a counter-attack, beating an opponent in the process and guided the final shot into the net.

This was the first time Union Omaha have scored three goals in a single game since they became a franchise. During their last three matches which they lost, they did not score any goal.

The win moved them to third position in the USL League One and they are now one point behind Richmond Kickers. The two top teams in the competition will meet for the title championship decider.

Otieno will be hopeful of another start when Union Omaha will host Georgia Tormentor FC on Saturday.
 
The Owls’ coach Jay Mims had acknowledged how tough the season is but hoped the remaining matches will offer them the best opportunity to overtake Richmond Kickers.

“Who knows?” Mims quipped to Omaha World-Herald in their latest interview.

“This league is so competitive. On any given day Richmond could drop some points, we’ll see how it shakes out. We still have five games left and plenty to play for.”

Otieno made his debut after waiting to link up with the team since signing the contract in January. After making his name with the relegated Sony Sugar, Otieno joined Gor Mahia for half-a-season before making the US move that was slightly halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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October 1, 2020
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