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Chattanooga FC advances to Third Round of U.S. Open Cup for second year in a row

By Jed Henderson , 04/06/23, 9:15AM EDT


Chattanooga FC capped off another dominate performance with a 4-1 win over the Des Moines Menace in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

Goals from Markus Naglestad, Damian Rodriguez, Alex McGrath, and Juan Louis earned a consecutive third-round berth for the boys in blue.

The Wednesday evening match pitted two storied clubs against each other. The hosts play in the USL-2 but have a long history as an amateur side, even knocking out professional opposition in 7 of their last 14 Open Cup appearances.

Chattanooga FC was no stranger to success in the Open Cup either, having knocked out Memphis 901 at the same stage last year.

Head coach Rod Underwood made no changes to the eleven that dominated Gold Star Detroit on Saturday, showing respect to his opponents and the importance of the Open Cup.

"Going into game we knew it would be difficult with the history of Des Moines," said Underwood. "We had to work hard and play our style at a good level to be successful in the match. That happened for us and we feel good about how we accomplished the result."

It was clear from the start that the boys in blue were ready for the match. Chattanooga held the ball for long swathes and prevented Des Moines from creating even half a chance from the outset.

After dominating the beginning of the half, Chattanooga found a breakthrough in the 23rd minute.

Taylor Gray got on the end of a floated cross and headed it back across goal. Markus Naglestad was on hand to bundle the ball into the net and open the scoring at 1-0.

Dalton's Damian Rodriguez subbed in for the injured Mutaya Mwape and didn’t wait long to make an impact.

With Chattanooga dominating possession around the box, a through ball from Luis Garcia Sosa found Rodriguez, who slammed the ball into the top of the net to put Chattanooga up 2-0 in the 36th minute.

Chattanooga continued to dominate into the second half. Every player in the attack showed brilliance both in individual skill and in sweeping team moves that were easy on the eye.

With CFC pushing additional men forward, Des Moines exposed CFC in the 69th minute with a counter attack sprung from a CFC free kick.

The Chattanooga FC centerbacks were caught up field and the swift counter resulted in a Des Moines goal, bringing the score to 2-1.

Despite the opposition goal, Chattanooga's team kept pushing for more.

In the 73rd minute, the goalkeeper rushed way out of the box to deny Damian Rodriguez a through ball.

The clearance fell to Alex McGrath, from Spennymoor, England, who hit a first-time volley from 50 yards out to score on an empty net. The wonder strike brought the score to 3-1.

Another sub got his name on the scoresheet in the 85th minute. A Taylor Gray through ball found the feet of Juan Louis, a new signing from Haiti. Louis  hit a clinical strike into the far corner, giving the keeper no chance. 

The game ended 4-1 in favor of the visiting boys in blue.

Chattanooga FC now advances to the Third Round and will travel to Birmingham Legion, USL Championship, on April 25 or 26.

About Chattanooga Football Club
Chattanooga Football Club was founded in 2009. The CFC Men's team competes in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), which is in the third division of professional soccer. The CFC Women's team is a summer amateur team that competes in the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL). 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.