USL League One announced on Monday the Team of the Week Presented by Cleer Audio for Week 5 of the 2021 regular season, with two of Chattanooga's players named to the 11 after the Red Wolves handed 2019 Champions North Texas SC their first home lose in nearly two years.
José Carrera García, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: It was an all-action display from the Chattanooga midfielder in his debut for the club. Carrera Garcia completed 86 percent of his passes (the best of any player to play 45 minutes or more), won the most duels of any player with five, completed two dribbles and created one chance on the night.
Jimmie Villalobos, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: Villalobos’ 32nd-minute strike proved to be the match-winner for Chattanooga, helping the Red Wolves become the first team in nearly two years to beat North Texas SC away from home.
The Red Wolves travelled to Arlington to face North Texas SC on Friday evening, marking the squad’s regular season opener. Obleda and the squad have high expectations for the season and made a crucial first step digging out a 1-0 win in Arlington thanks to a sensationally worked goal finished by Jimmie Villalobos.
Chattanooga showed their quality in the first half, retaining the ball well while maintaining swift movement and a tenacious press when a turnover occurred. The match was cagey and physical in the midfield as Jason Ramos, playing in a defensive midfield role behind Villalobos and Carrera-Garcia, did very well to keep North Texas uncomfortable. In addition, the Red Wolves’ backline led by hometown star Jonathan Ricketts was great, keeping a clean sheet for the first time this season at the first opportunity.
Chattanooga’s attacking three linked together well and the match’s deadlock was broken just after the half-hour mark as Jimmie Villalobos found the Red Wolves the breakthrough. Ricky Ruiz, who had a sensational first half, played a great pass to Juan Galindrez who laid it off to Villalobos who had no problem placing a beautiful strike into the bottom corner.
The second half was a difficult one, as the Red Wolves dug deep to maintain their lead. The introduction of Blake Frischknecht changed the game as his physicality and skill on the ball was difficult for North Texas to deal with, and despite good impact from Obleda’s 2 other substitutions Jackson Dietrich and Marky Hernandez, it was Sebastian Mora-Mora who came up with an enormous man of the match performance. He made several key saves late including a huge stop in stoppage time to secure the win.
Mora-Mora’s late game heroics combined with some resolute and brave play from the Red Wolves would mean 3 points coming back to Chattanooga with Obleda and his squad. When asked about what went well regarding the squad’s performance, Head Coach Jimmy Obleda emphasized that, “The overall commitment from the group was what worked. Tactically we had some ideas of what we wanted to accomplish in our press and where we wanted them to play.” He went onto reiterate that, “It was the whole teams’ effort and commitment to doing what needed to be done to get the result. I think that was the key to this last game’s success.”
In addition to the 3 points, two Red Wolves players received team of the week honors from USL League One for their performances, goal scorer Jimmie Villalobos and dynamic midfielder Jose Carrera Garcia. The Team of the Week selections described Carrera Garcia’s performance as, “An all-action display,” and made the note that the Villalobos goal, “Helped the Red Wolves become the first team in nearly two years to beat North Texas SC.” The win, 3 points and TOTW honors for Villalobos and Carrera Garcia should provide the squad with confidence moving forward in the season.
“We haven’t won anything; we just won a game,” said Obleda regarding the win, “It’s still a long road ahead but for this group and everything we’re working for. It’s a great little step into many steps that we’re going to take this season to make a run for the championship.” Coach Obleda and the squad will look to take another step towards their playoff aspirations as they travel to Boston to face New England Revolution II at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, May 16 at 8:30 p.m.