By Chattanooga FC
In what can only be described as a game of two halves, Chattanooga Football Club defeated Inter Nashville FC 3-0 in the first round of the NPSL Southeast Conference playoffs. Number three Asheville City SC upset #2 seed Greenville FC, setting up a conference final between Chattanooga FC and Asheville City in Finley Stadium on Saturday, July 13th at 7:30 pm.
The first half of last night’s match differed greatly from the second, as both teams struggled to find rhythm. Chattanooga FC dominated possession but was unable to pick the lock and find the back of the net despite a number of opportunities. It was action at midfield that set the course for the remainder of the match, as the center ref showed Mason Walsh a straight red card just as the first half expired, forcing Chattanooga FC to play with just 10 men for the rest of the match.
“Going into the locker room knowing you’re down a man can definitely change your strategy,” said Bill Elliott, head coach and General Manager of Chattanooga FC. “For us, it lit a fire under the guys and they responded in a big way.”
The boys in blue emerged out of the locker room a different team in the second half. Led by captain Juan Hernandez, the team played more aggressively and the goals came quickly. After only a minute into the second half, Hernandez flipped a pass along the sideline to a racing Gabriel Torres, who beat his defender, slipped the ball to Caleb Cole who deftly threaded the ball through Nashville’s back line to Torres.
Torres fell to the ground as he lifted a perfect cross to a wide open Alun Webb on the back post, and the Welshman found the back of the net. Five minutes later, Caleb Cole launched a ball into the box which was fumbled by the keeper and the ball fell to Zeca for the second goal of the night. Chattanooga native Cameron Woodfin added the final goal in the 80th minute off a brilliant Joao Costa assist, and the 3,092 exuberant fans left Finley stadium knowing that the team would play once again for a Southeast Conference title.
Tickets for the NPSL Southeast Conference title are on sale now at CFCtix.com. All season pass holders, CFC Academy players (who wear their jersey) and children under 6 are admitted at no charge.
Photo Credit: Ray Soldano and Charlie Milburn/Chattanooga FC