Sensation Ricky Ruiz lifts resolute Red Wolves past Union Omaha, into first place
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Red Wolves) – Union Omaha traveled to CHI Memorial Saturday night in what has been billed the heavyweight clash of the titans so far in USL League One. The Red Wolves came into the match riding an 11-game unbeaten streak, while Jay Mims and his side came in riding a 10-match unbeaten streak. The first half was a cagey affair that saw both sides flying into tackles and enjoying a fast-paced match. In a race to claim first place in USL League One’s top spot, the Red Wolves came out firing first. A ball from Jonathan Ricketts to Rafa was dribbled beautifully past 2 defenders, but the shot unfortunately tailed just right.
The whistle was blown tightly throughout, with the Red Wolves being hampered by a frustrating tendency to receive yellow cards. Even with a harsh whistle throughout what quickly turned into a choppy match, the Red Wolves continued to create chances. In the 56th minute Rafa once again found himself one on one with Rashid Nuhu, but the Omaha keeper stood tall for the second time in the match.
Manager Jimmy Obleda looked to his reserves to change the game as they usually do, bringing on Juan Galindrez, Jimmie Villalobos, and Josue España. Esparza and Rey Ortiz would come on in the 79th minute, and then immediately after lightning would strike. Ricky Ruiz, who has played at a superstar level all season long, cut inside and fired a laser past Nuhu in goal. Anarchy ensued in CHI Memorial as the floodlights danced and a capacity crowd celebrated what could
end up being the most crucial 3 points of the campaign so far.
Unbeaten in 12 games, the Red Wolves equaled the record for the longest unbeaten streak in USL League One history, equaling Lansing Ignite’s 2019 total. The Red Wolves are back on the road Friday night, taking on Toronto II at 4 p.m. EST.