Chattanooga FC welcomed familiar foe, Detroit City FC, back to Finley Stadium in a key league match on Saturday night. Detroit rolled into town undefeated and the defending NISA champs from the Spring Season.
Despite a holiday weekend and the first weekend of college football, nearly 2,000 CFC faithful took their places in Fort Finley.
It was an even first half until Detroit’s Pato Botello got a head on the ball in the 42nd minute to give the visitors a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room.
In his first game action since an injury during warmups of the Stumptown game, Markus Naglested would start the second half. CFC came out of the locker and controlled the game. James Kasak delivered a perfect ball on a corner kick and Naglestad got a head on it even things up in the 56’.
Less than ten minutes later, the CFC would be hit with a major blow as Richard Dixon was issued a red card in the 65th minute. The referee saying he denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. That left the Boys in Blue to play with ten men the rest of the match.
“Tonight was a tough one to swallow,” said Dixon. “I feel terrible for leaving the boys out there a man down but I’m proud of the effort and heart that they showed. We were unlucky not to leave with a point. I’ll raise my hand and take full responsibility for that one.”
CFC would hold off Detroit’s attack for more than 20 minutes until Yazeed Zeety bicycled the ball in the 88th minute. The ball would take a bounce and hit the back of the net. The home team would have a few more chances in four minutes of added time.
“No matter the circumstances we kept going,” said CFC captain Juan Hernandez. “And we were close, really close but even then success is not guaranteed.”
Detroit held on for the 2-1 result and remains at the top of the table.
“At the end of day what matters is that we keep moving forward and we keep putting our hearts one field,” Hernandez added.
“Despite the end result it was great to finally be back on the field,” said Naglestad. “Felt we deserved at least a point but unfortunately it wasn’t our night in the end. Massive thank you to our incredible fans for the unconditional love and support.”
The road does not get easier as Chattanooga FC travels to Los Angeles this weekend to face the #2 ranked Los Angeles Force. It will be a rematch of the August 28 event here in Chattanooga, where LA won 1-0 on a late penalty.
That game is Saturday, September 11 at 10:00 p.m. EDT. It will stream live on ELEVEN Sports.
HIGHLIGHTS: MATCH RECAP