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Dalton's Damian Rodriguez scores in CFC's 1-1 draw at Maryland

By Jed Henderson, 08/28/22, 1:45PM EDT

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Chattanooga FC earned a point on the road with a 1-1 draw against the Maryland Bobcats. Damian Rodriguez’s first half strike was cancelled out by a Brandon Clegg header as the teams shared the spoils Saturday night.

Three alterations were made to the Chattanooga FC lineup following a goalless draw with the Michigan Stars last time out. Chris Bermudez was introduced into the midfield, Gregg Stratton started on the left side of the defense, and Colin Stripling returned to the middle of the defense following his suspension.

The boys in blue quickly settled into the possession hungry style they have displayed for much of the season, but the game didn’t lack in chances on either end of the pitch. Both teams created opportunities to test the opposition keepers quickly.

One of Chattanooga FC’s keys to the match was to take advantage of set pieces, and they did just that in the 30th minute. A free kick routine allowed Chris Bermudez to swing a dangerous cross into the box, and Damian Rodriguez was on hand to volley home at the back post.

Markus Naglestad was a few inches away from scoring a second just a few minutes later. A fine cross found the head of Naglestad who nodded the ball off the bottom of the crossbar, narrowly missing out on the security goal.

Injuries forced two substitutions for the boys in blue as Ian Cerro replaced the assister Chris Bermudez and Alec Redington replaced Kevin Gonzalez between the sticks at half time.

The Bobcats were not to be denied in the second half as they struck early after the interval. A well worked corner routine found the head of Brandon Clegg who guided the ball inside the back post to make the game 1-1.

With the score level, both teams worked for a winning goal. Chattanooga was often denied by the offside trap or a tactical foul, again bringing to the forefront their concentration on set pieces. Markus Naglestad had a handful of chances from free kicks, the best coming in stoppage time as he almost poked home a cross but only found the keeper’s gloves.

On the other end, beyond the Bobcats’ leveler in the 49th minute, the home side was limited to a series of speculative shots that never looked like going in. Despite it being an open game, there were few clear-cut chances on either end. The game played out to a draw, with the winners on the night being the Bobcats organization, who set a record attendance of over 1,000 spectators for the first time ever.

With the new, restructured NISA standings, Chattanooga sits second behind California United Strikers and above Albion San Diego, coincidentally the two teams they face next in the league. Before that, Chattanooga FC plays host Metro Louisville FC, a top UPSL side that took on the Michigan Stars in the NISA Independent Cup earlier in the summer. The game will take place at Fort Finley this Wednesday, August 31st.

About Chattanooga Football Club
Chattanooga Football Club was founded in 2009. The men's team competes in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), which is in the third division of professional soccer. Chattanooga Football Club became the first soccer club to offer true ownership to the fans in 2019 with 3,200+ investors from Chattanooga, all 50 states, and 31 countries. CFC plays all home games in Finley Stadium in Chattanooga.