KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One Knoxville Sporting Club‘s inaugural match in front of a packed stadium was one to remember, despite a penalty call handing the visitors a late victory.

After launching in 2021, One Knoxville SC took to the field Saturday at Austin-East Magnet High School for the first match in club history against Asheville City SC.

Their first-ever USL League Two match got off to a fast start with Asheville City opening the scoring in the sixth minute through a tap-in from Kemy Amiche.

Knoxville responded 15 minutes later when Max McNulty scored the first goal in team history. The Birmingham, England native headed home a cross from team captain James Thomas to equalize the match in the 21st minute.

Halftime arrived with the score level at 1-1. Asheville City were awarded a contentious penalty kick in the 87th minute after the referee called a foul on Knoxville’s Moses Mensah. Asheville forward Luca Erhardt converted the spot kick to give the visitors all three points in the standings.

The win gave Asheville City the lead in the first-ever ‘Smoky Mountain Series’ a two-match set between the two clubs that will see the winner awarded a unique trophy. One Knoxville will visit North Carolina for the return leg on June 21.

The season-opener was played in front of a crowd of 2,200, the club announced Monday. All proceeds from the historic game will now be donated to Austin-East.

One Knoxville will look to bounce back Tuesday against Tri-Cities FC at 7:30 p.m. The match will be played at Knoxville Catholic High School and livestreamed on the One Knoxville SC YouTube channel.

One Knoxville competes in the Deep South Division of USL2’s Southern Conference. The top two teams from the Deep South Division will advance to the playoffs where they’ll face off with other Southern Conference leaders for a spot in the national semifinals.

USL League Two is a developmental league that allows college-level and elite high school players with professional aspirations to participate in high-level competition while maintaining NCAA eligibility. The team plans to move up to USL League One, a fully professional league recognized as the third tier of American soccer.