After a long road voyage that spanned 25 days and 5 cities, Chattanooga FC returned to the friendly pitch in Finley Stadium for an interstate clash against Atlanta Silverbacks in front of 3,176 fans. What began as a tense struggle between both sides erupted into a one sided clinic, with CFC leaving the field victorious, with a 4-1 victory.
The match began with several quick attacks on goal from the home team. Luckily for the Silverbacks, there were no goals to be had. Play opened up considerably after the first ten minutes, as both teams managed to build solid attacks, but neither one could pick the lock and break the 0-0 tie.
Things changed when Atlanta striker Thierry Jules entered the match midway through the first half. The tall, quick forward changed the game immediately, and in the 45thminute, Jules timed a slide perfectly, receiving a cross in front of goal which left CFC keeper Phil D’Amico flat footed and gave the away boys an early lead.
Just before the second half began, the entirety of the Chattanooga FC team formed a circle just in front of the bench. Coach Bill Elliott and Jose “Zeca” Ferraz rallied the team and urged them on. It worked. In the 72nd minute, Hixson TN native and former CFC ball boy Caleb Cole drilled a beautiful shot into goal to tie the match up at 1. Cole received the ball from a precise Felipe Oliviera pass, and Cole made sure that his aim was deliberate and true.
The goals soon followed in rapid succession, as Daniel Valenciano scored in the 79th minute on a diving kick, thanks to a Joao Costa pass. Costa provided service yet again, this time to CFC veteran Luke Winter, who was in the perfect spot to receive the cross and send the ball to the back of the net in the 83rd minute.
Joao wasn’t done just yet. Almost immediately after CFC’s third goal, Costa got a goal for himself, closing out the match and leaving supporters with hoarse voices and happy hearts.
“It was important for us as a team to come back home and perform well after such a long time away” said CFC head coach Bill Elliott. “I’m proud of how we performed in the second half. We need to bring that intensity to every game here on out.”
“This is such a great night for the fans” added Sean McDaniel, GM, CFC. “Many travelled with us, and we’re grateful for that, but for everyone else, we wanted to give them a show. The team really stepped up, and I’m proud of what we did tonight. ”