Chattanooga FC gifted 3 points to visiting Flower City Union Saturday night, FCU’s first points as a pro team and CFC’s first loss in NISA play of the season.
Chattanooga FC controlled large swathes of the game, keeping massive amounts of possession in dangerous areas- you can see below that CFC had more of the ball in FCU’s half than FCU did.
This possession did not lack threat; chances totaled to 2.37 xG, more than CFC’s previous two NISA games combined (and better than all previous games except against that little team in Memphis- wild).
You can see that for the first ~20 minutes of the second half, CFC didn’t hold much threat, which really changed with about 15 minutes left. The commentators on Eleven correctly noted that one massive difference was the space Brett Jones had in behind the defense of FCU. I’m not intelligent enough to know how that changed, but CFC had a lot of joy putting balls over and through the defense for Brett Jones to run onto in the first half. Brett did get called offside several times at the beginning of the second half- FCU’s backline must’ve talked it out at the half. It also seems to me that Ian Cerro and Taylor Gray struggled to get on the ball in the second half, and they got subbed off for Damian Rodriguez and Roddy Green Jr. who did wonders in re-establishing the attacking threat. I don’t know what to think of those last 15 minutes other than CFC was just massively unlucky. The guys pinned in FCU, put in all sorts of corners and crosses, hit the woodwork three times; not much more you can do tactically, the ball just has to find the back of the net.
If I had to have a criticism of the “Christmas Tree” formation and how it’s played out the last few matches, it might be that the 4-3-2-1 seems to become a 4-5-1 rather than 4-3-3 which leaves Brett Jones isolated pretty often. We’ve seen some incredible footwork and work rate from Brett Jones, but it seems like he often isn’t getting enough support to take advantage of some breakaways where he then has no option but to shoot. It would be cool to see a second striker for more than twenty minutes.
I’m interested to see if the lineup changes next weekend. Roddy Green Jr. has looked really good coming on the last few games, plus started on opening weekend, so he’s my pick for most likely to shake up the lineup. But, of course, I trust Rod and Co. to make the best decisions for the team.
The fullbacks were also standout performers for me this game, doing really well to step and make interceptions as well as overlap in attack. They probably do that well every game, it just stuck out to me this week.
Should we be concerned? I think not. That was a fluke result. CFC will turn it around. Brett will find his shooting boots. Several great individual performances, and a fantastic crowd. The atmosphere was great the whole game thanks in large part to the passion of the Chattahooligans, the best supporters around. Y’all are awesome!