The premier rivalry in NISA will be on display Saturday night when the Chattanooga Football
Club faces Detroit City FC at Finley Stadium. DCFC sits atop NISA with a 3-1-0 record, while
Chattanooga FC is right behind them at 2-0-1 during Fall play. While Detroit has been ruthless
so far, defender Shaun Russell says the boys in blue have what it takes to bring down the
“It’s just a matter of us doing our job once we play them,” says Russell after a windy practice at
Baylor. “They’re the league leaders, but they’re beatable and we are the last team to beat them
in NISA play.”
Detroit City and Chattanooga FC have been rivals since both clubs were in the NPSL and have a
lengthy history. Both teams are familiar with each other’s personnel, but coach Peter Fuller
says how his adversary will deploy them remains a mystery.
“I know the personnel very well, but they’ve had success with a 3-5-2, with a 4-4-2 with a tight
diamond in the midfield, and with they’ve gone to a 3-4-3 that we also play,” coach Fuller says.
“Preparing for them in terms of a shape is very difficult.”
Russell sees similarities in the teams’ talent levels and coaching styles. Chattanooga does have
a pair of talented strikers up front in Markus Naglestad and Daniel Jackson, and Brian Bement is
an awesome change-of-pace option later in games. All three will need to be in top form to
break through DCFC’s staunch three-man back line.
“We both play the same system and our coaches are similar,” Russell says. “It’s just a matter of
who is going to do their job the best on that night. We’re both organized teams on defense, so
it’s going to come down to who has the better attack.”
“We played a low block in a 3-5-2 (the last time we beat Detroit),” Fuller says. “The success
we’ve had has come when we’ve sat deep and waited to break on them. I do think you’re going
to see that on Saturday. We also spent time today working on pressing, where we want to get
them under some pressure.”
However, coach Fuller mentions that Detroit City, being the disciplined team they are, handles
pressure well and is not going to crumble against it. This will be the last of three straight home
games for Chattanooga, who go on the road to California to play the LA Force next week.
“We’re trying to protect our homefield, and it’s our last game before we head out on the road,
so we want to send our Chattahooligans off with a win,” Russell says.
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