Chattanooga FC and Asheville City SC kicked off in Asheville for the second time this year and the second leg of the Blue Ridge Derby. The match started slowly and CFC kept a defensive mindset, but as the game opened up CFC successfully defended the keg and pushed their way to the top of the conference with a 2-1 victory.

Twenty minutes into the match and there was still no significance attempts at goal, nor was any one team gaining control of the match. Everson Lima received a yellow card in the 24th minute, which seemed to light the fire that CFC needed to get the ball rolling and start making some meaningful movement and shots on goal. Steven Rocca’s shot on goal in 29th minute encouraged the kind of pace and urgency CFC needed in order to finish the first half strong.

Juan “Juanito” Hernandez worked hard in the middle to create opportunities for CFC to finish their attempts at goal, but kept coming up short, unable to find the back to the net. Asheville SC held control of the midfield in the first half.

In the 37th minute, Asheville City SC had a close shot that hit the crossbar. CFC created a counter attack, and Felipe Oliveira put it in the back of the net while right in front of the goal. Oliveira was the first to put points on the board for the evening.

Second half ended at Memorial Stadium with the score 1-0 and CFC holding the lead. Overall, both teams struggled to gain complete control of the match and the game seemed evenly matched.

Second half started off with both teams looking to gain control and put the match away starting with a long shot on goal from Joao Costa for CFC. Both teams came out for the second half with better pace and better control of the ball.

Charlie Clarke continuously added to the offensive play for CFC throughout the match. It wasn’t until the 61st minute though that Clarke was able to get a goal for the boys in blue. Clarke shot the ball right past Asheville’s keeper in front of the goal and put another point up for CFC.

CFC played deep in the back and defensively for the entire match. Around the 75th minute of play, Asheville put more pressure on the defense in order to try and catch up. Asheville scored a goal in the 80th minute to put the score at 1-2, but CFC still had the lead. For the remainder of the second half, CFC picked up the pace in order to match Asheville and defend their lead. The match was a clean fight and both teams exemplified professional control of the ball.

There were no more goals scored for either team during the rest of the match and CFC was successful in defending their place in the league, undefeated, upsetting Asheville City SC on their home field.

CFC head coach Bill Elliot said, “The boys got off to a slow start offensively but eventually were able to get the goals necessary in order to stay on top. I’m proud of their persistence up front and composure in the back. We’ll take this match to learn from as we prepare for Greenville next Saturday.”

General manager for CFC, Sean McDaniel, said, “We are pleased with a win against Asheville, especially on the road. They were a great opponent. The Chattahooligans and fans were also a great help and we are thankful they follow us anywhere. The boys are looking forward to taking on Greenville next weekend and we will need that support again!”

- Sarah Catherine Baker