Chattanooga Football Club cruised past Knoxville Emerald Force SC on Wednesday in Hayden Park in National Premier Soccer League regular season play. In their first road match of the season, Chattanooga FC scored early when Pierre Bocquet assisted Joao Costa for a goal in under 3 minutes. Bocquet and Costa are both in their first year with Chattanooga FC. Seven minutes later in the 11th minute, Costa intercepted a pass in Knoxville’s defensive third and played a quick pass to forward Charlie Clarke, who received the pass at the top of the box and then finished with his right foot to score the second goal of the match.
The goals kept coming for CFC in the first half when CFC fan-favorite Juanito Hernandez (midfielder) scored his first goal of the 2018 season. Clarke and Felipe Oliveira combined for some tight passing in the Knoxville box, but the ball was deflected back out to the left top corner of the box. Hernandez gathered the ball and faked a quick shot to get around two Knoxville defenders. After beating the two defenders, Hernandez hit a soft, curling shot with his right foot which froze the Knoxville keeper and sailed into the top right corner of the net making the score 3-0.
Minutes before the second half ended, Knoxville caught CFC off guard and took advantage of their high defensive line as a Knoxville forward broke the press with a diagonal pass to a teammate, who took several quick touches outside the left corner of the CFC penalty area and hit a high and hard shot to the back corner of the net pass the diving CFC goalkeeper, Phil D’Amico. This is D’Amico’s first year playing for CFC.
After the half, CFC one again struck early, this time from a Costa assist to Oliveira. In the 46th minute, Costa received the ball at midfield, turned to the inside of the playing field and played a pass to a sprinting Oliveira. Costa’s pass was just behind the last Knoxville defender, and Oliveira outraced his defender to chip the ball just over the Knoxville keeper’s head.
The final goal of the match was scored in the 65th minute off of a CFC free kick. Hernandez served the ball into the Knoxville penalty area, finding CFC veteran Zeca Farraz for a header that went off the crossbar. There was a melee in front of the goal, and the ball was headed to Juan Sanchez, who again headed the ball down to the feel of Daniel Valenciano, who tapped the ball in for CFC’s fifth goal of the night.
During the final 20 minutes, CFC veteran and all-time-leading goalscorer, Luke Winter came on at forward, keeping the pressure on the Knoxville defense.
CFC General Manager Sean McDaniel was encouraged by the performance of Chattanooga FC away from the home field advantage of Finley Stadium. “It was great to see the team perform so well on the road,” says McDaniel. “We played very well and I’m hopeful this was sign of things to come.”
CFC improved their unbeaten record to 2-2-0, and Knoxville fell to 1-0-5 in league play. Chattanooga remains atop the Southeastern Conference table and will travel to Asheville this Saturday to face second-place Asheville City SC in what is the second match in a 5-match away streak.