Well, that felt good! Chattanooga FC took all three points back to the Scenic City after a win over current East Division leaders Maryland Bobcats. The weather looked horrendous but CFC turned fortunes around to get the first NISA win of the season. New signing Chris Bermudez featured and Markus Naglestad got his first start of the season as Rod Underwood mixed up the lineup for the first time since he was forced to from the Franky Martinez injury.
The game wasn’t full of chances, with neither team generating any high percentage shots. In the end, it was clinical finishing that got CFC the win.
Chattanooga was determined to play out of the back, especially in the first half where nearly 40% of their possession was in their own defensive quarter. In the second half, CFC did a better job stopping the ball further up the field and had more developing play away from their goal. CFC was quick to move the ball forward, and the possession would be tilted much further forward were it not for the efforts of the Maryland backline to keep players offside. The CFC block did very well to keep Maryland away from goal, giving them only long range looks at goal.
After scoring goal number two, Chattanooga really closed up shop on both ends of the field, controlling the game well. Maryland’s goal came from a lucky deflection from a free kick:
But my goodness, what a goal from Alex McGrath, finishing off an olympico:
And of course, returning player Markus Naglestad made the difference in his first start this season:
Overall, that was a good game to watch, and I felt that CFC had control for most of it. I am always blown away by the fluidity of personnel in this formation, with players filling in for each other and rotating around all the time. It looked like the boys in blue knew how important the game was and they played hard for 90 minutes. Let’s hope for more of the same in our return fixture with Flower City next week.
Context in the League
I know there was a lot of disappointment after the loss to FCU last week, but I feel great about CFC’s position right now. I propose a few points:
- Chattanooga is the only eastern team to have played on a western road trip.
- Chattanooga is the only eastern team to have played against the statistically best in the league, Valley United
- Maryland only has wins against Flower City and Syracuse
- Michigan only has wins against Flower City and Syracuse (by forfeit)
- Syracuse only has wins against Flower City
- Over two matches against Maryland, Chattanooga has only conceded from free kicks
Yes, it would have been nice to win our two home games- I think those were just flukes. The results will come in front of the best crowd in NISA. Chattanooga has already gotten some of the worst of the schedule out of the way and can easily top the East if they continue to play like this.
For a more event based, less opinionated summary of the match, visit here.