The men of Chattanooga FC earned three points last time out against a stout Syracuse defense. Chattanooga opened the scoring via a Greg Stratton tap-in following a masterful set piece routine (.905 xG). Kaleb Jackson tied things up before the break with a goal deserved from his first half efforts (.391 xG). The Syracuse defense denied many chances in the second half but ultimately conceded a penalty to the most in-form player in NISA, Markus Naglestad (whose name we can now pronounce) who slotted home comfortably for the winner (.828 xG).
Overall, the result justly reflected the chances created by each team. We might note that without the late penalty, a draw would’ve been deserved.
The first half was pretty open, with Syracuse opting to use the high press early which has been perhaps one of CFC’s greatest weaknesses this season. Peter Fuller decided to close up shop in the second half, pretty effectively cutting off the flow of chances on both ends, perhaps taking a note from the Star’s visit a week earlier. He would’ve got away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling Norwegian.
No matter how many times the game is simulated, Chattanooga is just about guaranteed to score the same two goals as they were both high percentage. However, Syracuse had some good chances themselves, and could have easily slipped in two goals as well.
A win was the most likely outcome (2.032 xP), and the boys in blue are flying high in the east division as a result.
As for personal, non-statistical thoughts, I think just about every game we watch at Finley from now on will be similar to this. There seems to be a formula for taking the threat out of the Chattanooga possession that the opposition coaches are picking up on. If CFC doesn’t score early to unsettle the opposition as in most of the wins in this unbeaten streak, the opposition can really dig in and try to hold out. It will be very interesting to see if either of the New York sides on this road trip attempt anything other than to hold out for a draw, and if we can quickly break down the block.
It’s not too long now until playoffs come into discussion, so I have a hard to read graph to predict the future of the east. In the graph below, the solid lines represent games actually played/points earned, and the dotted lines represent the best and worst form the team has displayed this season, creating a “funnel of possibility”
The next step for me will be to add percentages, but we’re seeing that if the Chattanooga train continues on the same tracks, we’re pretty likely to see NISA playoffs at Finley Stadium. This is good news for Chattanooga’s premier professional club!