Chattanooga FC picked up a big 4-1 win over Charlotte FC MLS NEXT Pro in an exhibition match on Saturday night. The fireworks started early on fan appreciation night as first half goals from Chris Bermudez (2), Roddy Green, and Juan Hernandez sealed the win.
The boys in blue were in fine form entering the match, having just clinched a first-round playoff bye with a 2-1 win over Albion San Diego in the midweek.
Charlotte FC MLS NEXT Pro, in contrast, had only played a few matches in its existence, with plans to start competitive league play after the turn of the year. As the club built its roster, a visit to NISA stalwarts Chattanooga FC was the perfect test for the young side.
Head coach Rod Underwood unveiled a heavily rotated eleven from the midweek triumph over Albion. Roddy Green and Damian Rodriguez started either side of Luke Ferreira in attack. Chris Bermudez, Alex Jaimes, and club captain Juan Hernandez started in the middle of the pitch. Greg Stratton and Tate Robertson started either side of centerback pairing Nick Spielman and Ethan Koren in defense, and Alec Redington deputized between the sticks.
It was another fast-scoring night in Chattanooga as the boys in blue were already on the board within two minutes. Luke Ferreira was taken down in the box after some nifty footwork, and Chris Bermudez had the honors of converting the penalty to put Chattanooga up 1-0 in the 2nd minute.
They say lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, but Chris Bermudez certainly does. Damian Rodriguez was pulled back in the penalty area to earn a penalty, and Bermudez converted his second spot kick of the night in the 10th minute to put the boys in blue 2-0 ahead.
The boys in blue continued to bombard the Charlotte box with chance after chance. They were hungry for a goal from open play, which they finally found in the 26th minute. A fine move from Chattanooga culminated with a low cross from Tate Robertson finding Roddy Green, who gave the keeper no chance as he hit home with power to reach a 3-0 lead.
Club legend Juan Hernandez got in on the fun in the 44th minute. After a mazy run into the box, Hernandez hit a low shot that the keeper and defender on the line were powerless to stop. The beautiful goal put Chattanooga up 4-1 at the half.
With the game all but decided, Chattanooga slowed down the pace of the game in the second half. With less impetuous in the press, Chattanooga allowed Charlotte to get a few looks at goal. Alec Redington was called into action on several occasions. He was only beat once, in the 78th minute, as a failed CFC clearance gave Charlotte a clear chance to score and bring the game to 4-1.
Alex McGrath, Hugo Martinez, and Fabian Rodriguez all subbed in late in the second half to see out the game, and the boys in blue did a professional job as they managed the match and finished three goals to the good.
Club captain Juan Hernandez earned the fans’ vote as man of the match after playing ninety minutes of great football. His skill was on evident display when he scored, and he deputized the midfield with authority throughout the match.
Chattanooga FC has now played matches against a team from every professional league in the US this season, but it’s a return to league action next as the boys in blue head north to visit the Michigan Stars on Sunday, October 15th.
The next home game will be Sunday, October 30 at 5:00 p.m. for the 2022 NISA Semifinal. Tickets are on sale now at CFCTIX.com.
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.