Chattanooga FC withstood two weather delays and an onslaught of Inter Nashville FC attacks to emerge victorious Wednesday night by a score of 1-0, taking home a much-needed three points that places them at the top of the table.
“This was a statement match for our guys, and I’m really proud of how they held on and protected the lead,” said Chattanooga FC Bill Elliott. “They knew what was at stake and holding onto a one-goal lead, through the weather delay, was impressive.”
Wednesday’s match kicked off in sweltering style with thousands of fervent supporters in attendance. After two minutes of play, referees on the pitch received word that lightning was spotted in the area and halted play. Once play resumed, fans were treated to an evenly matched contest. Both teams attacked with pace, but neither was able to pick the lock and score in the first half. Notably, the center back pairing of Everson Lima and Soren Yuhascheck proved to be a very effective wall of resistance that allowed goalkeeper Phillip D’Amico the necessary cover to make smart plays and keep the ball out of the net.
The second half proved to be largely the same as neither team was able to score despite both team’s strongest efforts. Finally, in the 60th minute, Felipe “Pipe” Oliviera received a pass on the right side from Juan Hernandez, created space, and fired a rocket blast of a shot past the Inter Nashville FC keeper.
Not content with a one-goal advantage, CFC pressed on, looking to find another goal to pad the lead. Meanwhile, some key defensive plays by Juan Sanchez and Daniel Valenciano snuffed out clear goal scoring opportunities and kept the sheet clean for the boys in blue.
With just nine minutes left to play in regulation, officials halted the match again due to storms. Once back on the pitch, CFC looked a bit out of form, but were able to hold off Inter and preserve the win.
“We still have two away matches to play against two very talented teams, but it’s nice being in first,” said Chattanooga FC GM Sean McDaniel. “Getting that first round bye in the playoffs is crucial this late in the season. We’ll do all we can to hang on to that top seed.”
Contributor: Charlie Milburn/Chattanooga FC
Photo Credit: Ray Soldano