It was a frustrating night at Finley Stadium as Chattanooga fell short against the Michigan Stars. After a surprise result in California, the winner of this match was assured to host the final. Unfortunately, a second half header from Leon Maric was the difference as the season ended prematurely for the boys in blue.
On paper, there wasn’t really much to split the two sides. There were few clear chances in the match, and the big one was taken by the Stars.
After the goal, the Stars closed up shop and that was that.
It was always going to be a close match, and it was just unfortunate that Chattanooga didn’t grab a goal.
First, I’ll address the refereeing as that seems to be a hot topic. Going against much of the twitterverse, I don’t think the red card decision, right or wrong, made that much of an impact on the game. With fifteen minutes left, Michigan had their goal and weren’t about to concede. If anything, it felt like the CFC players pushed harder after going down to ten men.
The Michigan style of play is certainly frustrating for opposition, and not easy on the eye, but it’s legal and it works. The boys in blue took the bait of the style and got punished for it. Taking off the navy glasses, if my team (say, the Arsenal, or whoever you support) won like this, I would feel relieved but not guilty. It’s a way to play and it got the job done.
The game for me was lost in the first half. There were several chances for the boys in blue and they simply had to be taken. We knew what the Stars would do, and scoring first was necessary. Going into the half without a goal, you could just feel that things were going to go south.
The Season as a Whole
I for one have enjoyed year one of the Rod Underwood era. He promised more exciting football and we got it. Maybe I wasn’t paying as much attention in the past but I can’t remember a time before where we could walk into every game hoping for goals (with an s!) at this level.
Despite the way the season ended, Chattanooga and Cali are definitely the two best teams in NISA. The tactics and individual talent on display in two fixtures between them was well above the rest.
I have all sorts of thoughts and musings on the game and the season but overall I’m walking away from the season with a good feeling. Chattanooga FC still leads the way in independent, community based soccer and to me that’s worth more than any trophy. Personally, jumping in on the content creation has been a blast. Despite being inconsistent, I feel I’ve made the NISAverse just a little better and I’m excited for even more next year. Thanks for the support, and let’s keep supporting our boys in blue tomorrow and forever.