Soccer is a volatile sport full of offensive inconsistency. On some nights, all of the stars and most of the planets will align, and a team will put up heavenly numbers on the scoreboard. And then there will be matches where nothing clicks, and a team struggles to even maintain possession of the ball en-route to a scoreless effort.
The Chattanooga Football Club is one of the rare exceptions to this rule. They shelled Atlanta SC for five goals, a monstrous total not completely unexpected. CFC has scored at least two goals in every match this season, a model of consistency in an inconsistent start.
Chattanooga’s demolition of Atlanta began in the twelfth minute, when a goalkeeping error led to a goal by Felipe Oliveira. Then next score took another 26 minutes, when Chattanooga was rewarded a throw in while positioned in the final third of the field in Alpharetta Ga.
Jordan Dunstan is arguably CFC’s most skillful defender. But for one play, he would’ve looked comfortable standing in the pocket and playing quarterback in another kind of football. From just a few yards out of bounds and with a running start, he hurled a pinpoint strike toward his fellow defender Juan Sanchez, who was standing in the box and awaiting an opportunity.
Sanchez leapt and met the ball at the apex of his jump, connecting with the pass a split-second before the Atlanta Keeper could control it. Sanchez then headed the ball toward the lower-left corner of the net for Chattanooga’s second strike of the day.
It then took Chattanooga all of 60 seconds to add to their already admirable number of goals. Juan Hernandez received the ball in the box, before passing it off to a teammate a few yards closer. While falling down, his teammate still executed a perfect give-and-go, despite Atlanta’s (and gravity’s) best efforts.
When Hernandez got the ball back, he had a defender on his right shoulder and the goalkeeper a few feet away. Hernandez solved this problem by knocking the ball toward the far right post, despite heavy pressure by the defense. The ball was perfectly aimed, and settled into the net for Chattanooga’s third score. What had been a sizable lead was now a blowout.
CFC continued to put pressure on Atlanta’s back line in the second half. After a fumbled counter-attack in the seventy-fourth minute of play, Chattanooga re-organized and began a more traditional assault on the goal. Felipe Oliveira stood near the box, ready for a pass to come his way. That pass did come his way, and nothing would stop him from scoring.
“Nothing” even meant the goalkeeper, who was no match for Oliveira’s spectacular shot. With his back to the net, the CFC striker used the back of his heel to thread the ball in between the keeper’s legs for Chattanooga’s fourth score of the day. The Chattahooligan’s drums and bells were as loud as ever, making the match feel more like gameday at Finley stadium than an away game.
Mason Walsh capped off Chattanooga’s binge-scoring night with a final goal in the ninetieth minute. Following a slick multi-pass sequence that took the ball from coast-to-coast, he arced a looping shot into top-right corner of the goal. The Atlanta goalkeeper never stood a chance, and the scoreboard soon read 5-0.
This match marked the end of a grueling four matches in a ten-day stretch for CFC, a string of games that saw them go undefeated. They now sit atop the division standings at a sterling 5-1-1. Chattanooga has six days to rest, something that must feel like an extended vacation, before playing Asheville SC on Saturday in Finley Stadium.
CFC’s busy weekend continues the next day though, as they turn around and play an exhibition against Guatemalan powerhouse CSD Municipal.