Chattanooga FC fans everywhere are heartbroken over the NPSL Southeastern Conference championship match as the Atlanta Silverbacks took home the victory after a penalty shootout. This match concluded CFC’s 10th season.
The match started off with both teams struggling to gain control, each trying to gain their own rhythm. Everson Lima dominated the back line for CFC and Joao Costa and Charlie Clarke had several attempts at goal that were just shy of the net. Clarke received the first yellow card of the match in the 27th minute.
Silverbacks gained control 30 minutes into the match and CFC was trying to fight for the ball back. CFC tried to keep possession, and earned but several free kicks, taken by Juan Hernandez. Each fell short of the goal. By halftime, there was still no score.
The first half was a battle between both teams to get ahead in the match, but at the beginning of the second half, CFC was in the game, engaged, and ready to take the victory. The boys in blue fought hard, but still allowed keeper Phil D’Amico to get his hands on the ball several times.
Again, CFC had the opportunity to take several free kicks outside the box, but each came up short. Pierre Bouquet, Hernandez, and Juan Sanchez were in control of the midfield. Sixteen minutes into the second half D’Amico made back-to-back fantastic saves. Sanchez went down outside the box and shortly after had to leave the field due to injury. Damian Gaona came in for Sanchez and quickly went to work defending the goal.
CFC head coach Bill Elliott decided to take Clarke and Caleb Cole out and put in Felipe Oliveira and Jonathan Ricketts to help CFC try and get ahead in the game. CFC was obviously getting tired at this point and let the ball get deep in the back. Silverbacks took a shot on goal, D’Amico got a touch on the ball, but it got behind him. Right before the ball hit the line, Soren Yuhaschek saved the ball from going in.
A free kick taken by Hernandez with only minutes left in the match was faked by Costa and was finished by Everson Lima. The goal was called back after the referees called Lima offsides. CFC played in a defensive formation the entire game, yet had many attempts at goal, the score ended 0-0 after regular time.
CFC and Silverbacks entered into extra time. CFC was trying, attempt after attempt, to score a game-winning goal. Costa and Ricketts worked tirelessly tirelessly in the final third. The two fifteen-minute halves of extra time were intense for both teams, but still scoreless. D’Amico saved a penalty kick in the last minutes of extra time.
After finishing extra time, CFC and the Silverbacks headed into a penalty shoot out. D’Amico saved two Silverbacks goals that the referee decided didn’t count because D’Amico came off the goal line. The shots were taken again and each converted. On the sixth shot, Cameron Woodfin hit his penalty shot wide left and Atlanta Silverbacks won the NPSL Southeastern Region Championship match.
Contributor: Sarah Catherine Baker/Chattanooga FC
Photo Credit: Ray Soldano/Chattanooga FC