The men of Chattanooga FC continued an undefeated season with a commanding 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Force late Saturday night. First-half goals from Aydan Bowers, Markus Naglestad, and Beto Alvarenga ensured all three points stayed with the league leaders.
The boys in blue entered the match well clear at the top of the table, but a draw with Club de Lyon last weekend had them eager to get back to winning ways.
Head coach Rod Underwood only made one change to the starting eleven, bringing in defender Sebastian Capozucchi for his first league start.
It was an exciting match of football from start to finish. Chattanooga tested the Los Angeles defense early and often.
Naglestad put a dangerous free kick on frame in the 11th minute, but the keeper was able to keep it out.
Alex McGrath got on the end of a through ball and struck a powerful ball on goal in the 20th minute, but the keeper was in the right place to parry it away.
It was ultimately birthday boy Aydan Bowers who got the opening goal with his first goal for the club. Bowers jumped high to meet an inswinging Alex McGrath corner with his head, nodding in at the back post. Chattanooga FC was ahead 1-0 in the 31st minute.
"Our main focus today was to get a win," said Bowers. "Coming into this we wanted to play our way and I think we did play our way. In the first half we were flying."
It’s hardly a CFC match without Norwegian striker Markus Naglestad getting in on the goals, and he did that in the 38th minute. Picking up a loose ball forced by great work from Zambian midfielder Mutaya Mwape, Naglestad drove to the top of the box and rifled an incredible left-footed shot, with sheer power beating the keeper at the near post for his 50th goal in a CFC shirt.
First half stoppage time was the perfect time for the boys in blue to put the game to bed. All-Leaguer Alex McGrath, from Spennymoor, England, found Beto Alvarenga at the top of the box, and Alvarenga struck a dipping ball into the bottom left corner, giving the keeper no chance. Chattanooga brought a 3-0 lead to the locker room at the half.
No more goals were scored in the game, but there was still plenty to watch.
CFC goalkeeper Jean Antoine was a notable performer, working hard to guarantee another clean sheet for the boys in blue. Jesus Ibarra subbed in to make his Chattanooga debut. Ultimately the game played out comfortably for the boys in blue as the league leaders showed no mercy.
Aydan Bowers earned man of the match honors. Beyond his first goal for the club, Bowers kept things tight in the back without his usual partner Prepelita. There was little to fault in anyone’s performance on the night, and the first half may be looked back on as a classic Chattanooga performance.
One game away from the halfway point of the season, Chattanooga now holds a commanding eleven-point lead in the NISA standings.
"I think this week we wanted to prove to the league and to some people that we're on top of the league for a reason," added Bowers. "I think that's what we did today."
With an 11-game unbeaten streak, CFC now hold the longest streak in league history.
When asked if he felt like his team is where he wants them to be, Head Coach Rod Underwood was clear.
"We're just not there yet," said Underwood. "Yeah, we're just not there yet. Next week will be a test."
What comes next week? The only other team that remains undefeated is the Michigan Stars, who visit Fort Finley this Saturday, July 8th for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Presale tickets are available now at ChattanoogaFC.com/tickets.
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.