Chattanooga FC earned a point on the road against the Michigan Stars with a 0-0 draw Sunday night. Neither team was able to score in a physical and hard-fought affair.
The two teams had met previously at Finley Stadium twice this season, with both matches also ending goalless. The match on Sunday had big implications in the NISA playoff picture with both teams jockeying for positions and playoff hosting rights at the season’s end.
Head coach Rod Underwood presented no surprises in his starting eleven. Taylor Gray and Damian Rodriguez flanked scoring leader Markus Naglestad in the attack. Ian Cerro, Alex McGrath, and captain Richard Dixon ran the midfield. Travis Ward and Tate Robertson played either side of centerbacks Franky Martinez and Colin Stripling, and Kevin Gonzalez started between the sticks.
There wasn’t much to write home about in the first half of the match. Defense was the name of the game as both sides nullified any chances. In fact, the only ‘shot on target’ in the half was a clearance from the Star’s keeper than bounced past midfield and into Kevin Gonzalez’s gloves.
The game heated up in the second half, as the teams got more physical and pushed more bodies forward to try to break the deadlock.
The Stars put the ball in the back of the net in the 59th minute, but the goal didn’t stand- the Stars player clearly used his forearm to bring down a cross to score. While the score remained level, the temperature of the match increased even more.
Chattanooga survived a few melees in their own box as the Michigan players tried to use their size advantage on set pieces, but again no clear scoring chances developed. The boys in blue played better possession, but never tested the Michigan keeper on the other end of the field.
Chattanooga fans voted Richard Dixon as man of the match. His industry in the midfield prevented many Stars attacks from developing, and his anchor role saw him participate in much of the buildup play Chattanooga had.
With another point in hand, Chattanooga FC remains in second place in the NISA standings, which would mean a NISA semifinal playoff match taking place at Fort Finley.
Every point matters for the rest of the season, and the boys in blue have a chance to earn three more as the host Flower City Union at Finley Stadium this Saturday, September 24th. It's Juan Hernandez Bobblehead Night where the first 1,000 fans take one home for free.
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.