Chattanooga FC defeated Atlanta FC 3-0 Wednesday night in the friendly confines of Finley Stadium.
In the first half, Felipe Oliveira was at least 50 yards away from the ball, but he had the defense right where he wanted them to be. As Chattanooga’s Everson Lima launched a moonshot of a pass far downfield, Oliveira began jostling for position as the only Chattanooga player in the area.
Bracketed by three Atlanta FC defenders, Oliveira could easily be mistaken for Bryce Nunelly for a moment, as he slashed down Finley Stadium’s artificial turf and somehow got a step on the clump of his Atlantan adversaries.
With the defense left behind him and only the keeper to beat, Oliveira chipped in a soft shot over the keeper’s head as he burst forward, netting Chattanooga’s first goal of the night. It would not be their last.
After missing a few more opportunities in the first half and leaving halftime with the same 1-0 score, Zeca added another unique goal to his expansive catalogue of memorable plays in the second half.
As he did so many times during the match, Cameron Woodfin was able to race past Atlanta’s defense on the left wing, creating havoc and opportunities for his teammates. After blowing by his defender, Woodfin slid a pass to Zeca right in front of the net. However, because it was slightly behind the midfielder, Zeca was forced to turn his back to the defense.
What happened next looked like a play out of the NBA Finals - Zeca juked around the defender directly in front of him while also careening to his left. After getting past the defender and into an open pocket of space, Zeca abruptly turned, and in one motion fired the ball past the keeper, all while falling backwards. It was a play that only can be described as the soccer equivalent of a fadeaway jump shot.
Chattanooga added one more goal to their total in the 69th minute of the match. Caleb Cole, as was a theme on this night, was able to blow past the Atlanta FC wingback, and directed a pass to Woodfin, who was standing unmolested In front of the goal. Woodfin put the finishing touches on his excellent night, adding a goal to his already impressive stat-sheet.
The offense is only half of the game though, as Chattanooga’s ability to hold Atlanta FC to only one shot on goal being perhaps the stat of the night. After a shaky start to the season, Chattanooga’s defense has solidified over the last two scoreless matches. Much like they did against Nashville last week, Chattanooga choked Atlanta in the final third of the field, rooting out scoring opportunities before they were able to materialize.
Chattanooga Football Club takes to the road for their next three matches. Next up on the Chattanooga docket is the Georgia Revolution. The Revolution handed Chattanooga their only loss of the season after Jamar Oakley ripped apart Chattanooga’s back line for a hat trick. The match kicks off at 7:30.