CFC traveled to Atlanta Sunday night to play the final game of the regular season. Newly crowned NPSL Southeastern conference champions, Chattanooga FC took on the Silverbacks and battled to take home a tie.
The lineup for the match against Atlanta was a little different than fans are use to. The youngest members of the squad were out on the field and some new faces joined the team as well, including Drew Viscomi, Chattanooga native and Tennessee state high school player of the year. The starting line up included both Ricketts brothers, Stephen and Jonathan, playing in defense.
Pierre Bocquet took control of the midfield from the beginning of the game, yet CFC wasn’t able to get a shot off until later in the half. Possession in the first half was split and neither team was able to gain control of the game in the first half. CFC offense struggled to find their rhythm early at the beginning and they couldn’t find the back of the net.
Nick Croucher played keeper the entire match and defended the goal aggressively. Just 23 minutes into the game though, the Silverbacks were able to slip one by the CFC defense and made the score 1 to 0 with a shot at the top of the box, about 35 yards out from the goal.
It wasn’t until the 30th minute that got the crowd truly engaged in the match, but their contribution energized the players. The defense from both teams was battling hard but both offenses struggled to find the back of the net. The score at half time remained 1 to 0.
The second half started off to a slow pace as both teams played very deep in the back and were slow to attack.
Fifteen minutes into the second half CFC decided to make some changes to its offensive line. Felipe Oliveira, Cameron Woodfin, and Santiago Moore joined Charlie Clarke on the field.
Immediately, CFC created scoring opportunities. The fresh legs created momentum and energy on the field, getting the ball inside the box in order to get shots on goal.
Only a few minutes after taking the field, Oliveira received a ball from midfield and got the defense behind him for a break away. 30 minutes into the second half Felipe tied up the match, 1 to 1.
The intensity from CFC increased tremendously in the second half and the goal by Oliveira was the motivation CFC needed. With only four minutes left to play, Stephen Ricketts made a fantastic save right before the ball crossed the line and kept the score tied 1 to 1 to finish the match.
Head coach Bill Elliott said, “I think we got off to a rough start but we pulled through to get the tie. This match was a good opportunity to get some young guys out on the field as well and we are proud of their performance.”
General manager Sean McDaniel said, “We were excited to have some new, young faces in our starting lineup tonight and I think they did a great job. It was a good learning experience for them. We are proud of how the season finished out and looking forward to seeing the fans back at Finley on Thursday.”
CFC finished their regular season with 8 wins, 2 losses, and 4 ties. This is the 7th regular season conference title they have received.
CFC’s next match is the Southeast Conference Semifinals on Thursday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Finley Stadium.