A rain-soaked Chattanooga FC squad poured on the goals against Inter Nashville at Finley Stadium on Saturday night.
Amidst a scoreless first half, Zeca began to slip toward the goal at the exact moment Daniel Valenciano started his weaving run forward. Valenciano pushed ahead, unabated by the host of Nashville defenders who were seemingly content to watch the CFC midfielder move ever-closer to the box.
After making considerable ground, he booted the ball into a crack in the defense, connecting with Zeca at the exact moment his teammate got a step on Nashville’s wingback.
Zeca found himself completely free of the defense, with only the keeper in front of him. With enough space to get off a clean look and an opportunity to put Chattanooga on the scoreboard, Zecca aimed his shot to the right.
The keeper dove left and Chattanooga took the lead underneath the dark grey skies, a lead they would not relinquish in the 4-0 rout.
Chattanooga procured its first score in what was a rather frustrating half of soccer. Chattanooga Football Club dominated possession, with Nashville having difficulty keeping the ball for more than a few passes.
CFC, despite being scoreless until Zeca’s strike in the eighteenth minute, had spent so much time in Nashville’s box that they could have changed the area code from 615 to 423. But every time Chattanooga appeared primed to score, Nashville deflected a pass, stole the ball from an attacking player, or deflected a rare shot.
The latter part of the second half was a different story entirely. With the rain starting to come down, Chattanooga clamped down on Nashville's attack. Defender Everson Lima and the rest of Chattanooga’s back line stymied any advance, with Inter Nashville only threatening a handful of times. In the sixty-fourth minute of play, Lima ripped across the box and batted away what could nave been a threatening cross. And during the rare times when Nashville might have been able to score, goalkeeper Phil D’Amico shut the door, warding away corner kicks and shots alike. After giving up nine goals in the last three matches, Chattanooga shut out their inter-state rivals.
Chattanooga’s attack also came to life a few minutes into the second half when Zeca nabbed his second goal of the match. Caleb Cole, who had several dazzling runs throughout the game, smacked the ball in the direction of the net, where Nashville’s keeper whacked it away. Unfortunately for Nashville, he deflected it right to Zeca, who easily converted the chip-shot into another Chattanooga goal.
Later in the match, with the rain starting to descend, CFC did what they failed to do against the Georgia Revolution seven days prior. A few minutes after being substituted in for Joao Costa, the tall and lanky Max Wilschrey did his best impersonation of a basketball player by “grabbing the rebound” and scoring after the Nashville’s keeper failed to secure the ball for the second time..
Felipe Oliveira converted his next chance to score only a few minutes later, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Following a close miss that bounced off the crossbar, Nashville failed to clear the ball. As it lingered in the box, Oliveira was able to get it under control, and pushed a low and ground-bound ball past the keeper for Chattanooga’s fourth and final goal of the match.
The 4-0 victory left the 1,700 fans in Finley Stadium happy and gave Chattanooga three more points in the league. Chattanooga does not have much time to enjoy its win though, as Atlanta SC visits the Scenic City on Wednesday. The match kicks off at 7:30, and will be Chattanooga’s last home match until June 29.
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The Chattanooga Red Wolves SC traveled to Statesboro, Ga., but the game was postponed to a later date due to storms in the area. The Red Wolves will travel to Richmond on Saturday.