Chattanooga FC traveled from Charlotte to New Orleans to play its second road game in four days. Following the US Open Cup loss to the Eagles, 2-0, the team turned its focus to the start of NPSL league play against its Southeast Conference rivals, the Jesters.
With a starting lineup featuring only five starters from Wednesday’s match, the team looked to explore the talent of its very deep roster. The team started brightly, with newcomer Felipe Antonio providing a lovely close range range goal in the 10th minute off of a keen pass from John Carrier, taking the 1-0 lead early. The 25 or so traveling Chattahooligan supporters celebrated vociferously (of course) and continued to be a presence throughout the match.
Chattanooga FC continued to press forward for the next 15 minutes until the Jesters gained some composure to possess and counter. NOLA found their equalizer off of a free kick in the 31st minute — cleverly sneaking under the wall that hoped to provide keeper Chris Baker protection. The half ended 1-1 with both sides creating opportunities but failing to convert.
In second half, CFC continued to press and win the lion’s share of possession, but New Orleans countered with several dangerous chances. Bill Elliott used all 6 of his substitutions in the second half, and CFC gained momentum as the game wore on. The Jesters seemed content to try to absorb pressure and weather the storm.
The Boys in Blue defended, possessed and pressed extremely well in the waning minutes of the game, but the winning goal remained elusive. The draw is disappointing for the players, but long road trips are always challenging in the NPSL.
The team now turns its attention to Saturday, May 20 where it will open the home season against the Birmingham Hammers in Fort Finley at 7:30 pm. The Hammers started their season with a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks last weekend.