Chattanooga FC hosted Georgia Revolution FC last night in the semifinal round of the NPSL Southeastern Conference playoffs. This was the third time the teams have met this season and this time, CFC was able to take home the victory in an epic showdown.
“I am very proud of the performance from the guys tonight,” CFC head coach Bill Elliott said. “They started and finished the match well. This was the kind of energy we will need for the match on Saturday.”
From the first whistle, CFC looked ready for the match. Elliott and company crafted a more offensive approach to the line up, sending two strikers up top: Joao Costa and Felipe Oliveira. Additionally, coaches placed one of the center midfielders, Juan Hernandez, in more of an attacking position on the field.
Costa had a shot on goal within five minutes of play, which was immediately followed by another attempt that threatened the Revolution defense. The entire midfield was in an offensive mindset from the start, and it continued throughout the entire first half. CFC maintained control of the match with Pierre Bocquet and Juan Hernandez dominating the midfield.
Despite both teams working hard in the final third, neither team was able to find the back of the net at halftime. CFC seeming to have gained control of the match though, the score still remained 0-0 at the half.
Georgia Revolution came out for the second half and looked ready to play. CFC gave up more opportunities for the Revolution to reach the goal in the second half. As the Revolution posed a bigger threat, CFC keeper Phil D’Amico did a fantastic job of keeping the goal protected, the ball out of the net, and the CFC defense in check.
As the second half went on, CFC began to find their rhythm again and started to take back control of the game. As a notable substitution, Bocquet came off and Charlie Clarke joined the field with 22 minutes left in the game.
Just a few minutes later, a foul at the top of the box created a free kick for CFC. Hernandez took the direct shot on goal, and the shot was good. The crowd was elated and the score was now 1-0, CFC had taken the lead.
CFC fought desperately to hold the lead against the Revolution as they carefully took care of the ball. After John Carrier came in for Oliveira and Jonathan Ricketts came in for Hernandez, it looked as if CFC had this game settled.
In the very last minute of regular time, Clarke made an assist and Costa, after playing the entire match, was able to find the back of the net once more. The final score of the game was 2-0.
Chattanooga FC will now play in the NPSL Southeastern Region Championship match against Atlanta Silverbacks FC. The game will be played at Finley Stadium on Saturday, July 14 at 7:30 pm.
“Tonight was a great experience for CFC and Chattanooga fans,” CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said. “The crowd showed up like we needed and the hard work from everyone payed off. We can wait for Saturday’s match were we will need the same kind of support and love in order to get that huge win.”
Contributor: Sarah Catherine Baker/Chattanooga FC
Photo Credit: Ray Soldano