Chattanooga FC escaped San Diego with a point after earning a 0-0 draw on the road late Sunday night. The boys in blue were unable to get things going on offense as they played their third match in 8 days, including a 2,100 mile trip to the west coast.
The boys in blue are still comfortably in first place, and Albion San Diego were on the hunt for a first-round playoff bye, in need of every point possible.
Three changes were made to head coach Rod Underwood’s starting eleven. Jesus Ibarra returned to the left wing. Beto Alvarenga came into the midfield to start, and Sebastian Capozucchi stood in at right back.
The weight of three matches in eight days seemed to be affecting the boys in blue as the match started. The team was unable to get much going but had to withstand plenty of pressure from the hosts.
Jean Antoine is known for his presence in the box, but this match was the most he was called upon as a pure shot stopper since joining the club. He made a standout save in the 12th minute, going full stretch to tip a curling shot onto the inside of the upright. Throughout the night, Antoine made crucial interventions to keep the score level. The performance was enough to secure the draw for his team and earn Man of the Match honors.
Head coach Rod Underwood made several second half substitutions to try to get the team rolling. Luis Garcia Sosa started the second half for Alvarenga. Juan Louis subbed for Mutaya Mwape in the 71st minute. Lenny Lopez was brought in to replace Markus Naglestad in the 83rd minute. Each brought a new dynamic to the attack but were still unable to make a crucial impact. The best moment of the match was the introduction of Alex Jaimes as a substitute as he returned from a long-term injury.
Ultimately, Chattanooga withheld all the pressure sent their way and earned a big point on the road. The players will know they need to do better in the future but won’t travel back to the west coast nor play back-to-back games for the rest of the season. It’s now up to the boys in blue to secure first place in the league.
"I am proud of this group of men that I go to battle with every single day," said CFC Captain Richard Dixon.
"Three games in eight days is not an easy task, especially when you have to travel all the way to the other side of the country for two of them. We were unlucky not to continue our streak, but we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back to work. Thank you Chattanooga & the Chattahooligans for your unwavering support both near and far. You say 'where you go we'll follow' and really mean it. It means a lot. We remain focused on the ultimate price but, more importantly, the journey to get us there. It has been a pleasure playing for this club and city and we look forward to continuing to represent you! Thank you for your trust and support!"
Chattanooga FC returns to action on Saturday, September 16 as they visit the Savannah Clovers. The boys return to Fort Finley on October 1st to take on Gold Star Detroit.
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.