Atlanta United 6-0 Chattanooga FC: Nooga by the Numbers

Chattanooga FC dropped out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a defeat to defending champions and MLS side Atlanta United. This was Chattanooga’s first Open Cup match against an MLS club. The boys in blue worked hard against one of the best teams in the nation but ended up with an unflattering scoreline against brutally clinical opponents.

Atlanta didn’t generate massively dangerous chances according to my NISA xG model (2.6 xG to CFC’s 0.23)- they are just a class above, as you would expect from an MLS side. That extra space that would be fine to concede to a NISA opponent was clinically punished. KG’s tendency to work off his line, which once again works great in NISA, was exposed by the nation’s best.

The bright spot for me (and the fans that voted for man of the match) was Richard Dixon and his role in the middle of the park. He bossed it up and made some great tackles. I also loved when Damian Rodriguez came on- I was sitting opposite the Chattahooligans and right in front of where Damian was dribbling around and having a blast. So great to watch. Roddy Green looked hungry for goals when he came on, Ian Cerro and Taylor Gray had some good moments, KG kept the score in check- all of the team worked hard and it was great to watch despite the end result.

I didn’t spend too much time on this because it’s a busy week and it’s not a result that’s great to dwell on, but I will say on no uncertain terms that the guys at CFC should be so proud of their performance, and double proud for the previous performance that got them to this point. What a great team to support.

Next up is Flower City Union at home- frankly we haven’t had an easy game yet this season, but FCU is a team we should be able to dominate. I’m excited to see if we keep the Christmas Tree Formation against weaker opposition like this.

For a more event based recap, check out the club website– but as always, I appreciate you reading and all your support!

Valley United FC 0 Chattanooga FC 0: Nooga by the Numbers 2022

Chattanooga FC went on the road to West Division leaders Valley United FC and came home with a point after a goalless draw on Friday night. The visitors were out shot 15-3 (4-1 on target) but held on against an in-form Valley side.

Chattanooga FC struggled to get the ball forward in the match with Valley United employing a very effective pressing style that kept CFC pinned in their own half. While CFC actually ended up with more possession, it was hardly in threatening areas and the forwards were rarely involved.

In terms of chance creation, Chattanooga only had one big chance in each half, where Brett Jones did his usual solo run and quick shot in the first half and an outstretched Alex McGrath *just* missed the target in the second half. Valley United, on the other hand, created loads of chances- or should I say CFC gifted them loads of chances? CFC was determined to play out of the back, but they conceded chance after chance from giving the ball away cheaply much to close to their own goal.

The match almost seemed like a mirror image of the Memphis game last week. Rather than sitting back and respecting Memphis like might be expected, CFC took the game to Memphis with pressure that conceded possession but not in dangerous areas. The same happen with Valley United- they had less possession, but ran the game territorially, not allowing CFC into dangerous areas. Just speculating, maybe Rod Underwood & Co. were not expecting the high press from Valley and the subsequent need for such tight passing around the back. CFC are lucky to leave Mesa with a point.

That point comes in large part thanks to the work of Kevin Gonzalez, who was named man of the match after facing four shots on target and saving them all to keep his first clean sheet of the season. KG also came off his line to make a number of crucial claims, marking his territory in the 18 and a little beyond. Well done Kevin!

With this, Chattanooga FC sit fourth in the East Division, but there’s not too much to worry about. Maryland already have 7 points, but 6 are against the two worst teams in the division. Inversely, we’ve now taken a point off Maryland and Western leaders Valley. There’s still a lot to play for but we’ve gotten a few of the tougher games out of the way early.

Next up CFC face the big boys in Atlanta United- let’s hope for heavy rotation and lots of luck. See you in Kennesaw Wednesday!

Note: I’ve been asked to do match recaps for the official CFC website. For more formal, less speculative summaries, visit the website.

Chattanooga FC 3-1 Memphis 901: Nooga by the Numbers

The Chattanooga FC Men’s side got the better of USL Championship side Memphis 901 in the second round of the US Open Cup on Thursday night. The match had been years in the making, with the two clubs being drawn in the ill-fated 2020 rendition of the tournament and playing behind closed doors this preseason. A tactical masterclass from Rod Underwood and his crew resulted in a well deserved victory for the boys in blue.

There were two sides to the coin in this matchup. For the casual observer, Memphis 901’s 63% possession, paired with a whopping 22 shots, would imply that Memphis bossed the game and Chattanooga were lucky to come away with the result. However, Memphis’s possession didn’t really result in any threat. Below is a cumulative Expected Goals chart for the game. For each shot taken, you can see the quality of the chance by how much the line jumps. We can see that Chattanooga were very good at creating high quality chances, while Memphis took lots more shots but none of real quality. The Chattanooga defense was set up perfectly to prevent Memphis from getting any good looks on goal.

It’s also worth looking at the territorial possession below. Chattanooga had very little presence in their attacking half, which I think speaks volumes to the quality the attackers possessed to generate such high quality chances from so little. Inversely, big props to the defense for seeing so much opposition possession in their own half but really preventing any high quality chances. As the great Jose Mourinho said, “Memphis can take the ball home, but we’ll take the third round berth.”

I think we can place special notice on set pieces- there was obviously some extra work put in this week to generate chances from these and Memphis were not prepared. Also, despite the low possession, Chattanooga employed an excellent pressing style that paid immediate dividends for the first goal and prevented Memphis from settling into the match. Well done Chattanooga.

Taylor Gray was voted man of the match- I personally had it between Brett Jones, who spearheaded the press and was instrumental in the first two goals, and Richard Dixon, the captain who did a wonderful job organizing the stout defense and worked hard to break up the Memphis play. If we could give MOTM to all the players we would, they all deserve it after so thoroughly besting a team in the tier above.

What’s next in the Open Cup? I would love to finally play our cross town rivals… nevermind. Chattanooga FC travels away to defending Open Cup champions Atlanta United for the chance to cause an even greater upset. Regardless of the result, we can be immensely proud of the guys at CFC.