Chattanooga FC ran out victorious in a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Force on Saturday. All the action came in the first half as goals from Markus Naglestad, Alex McGrath, and Ian Cerro held off the visitors for a big three points.
The boys in blue arrived at Fort Finley on the back of an intense road trip to California where they earned four points from six over the course of four days.
The game was wide open, end to end entertainment from the first whistle. Both teams pushed the ball forward quickly, letting shot after shot fly.
Chattanooga was the first to create a high-quality chance in the 8th minute. McGrath made a great run with the ball, creating space to square the ball to an open Naglestad, who had no problem finding the bottom right corner of the goal to open the scoring at 1-0.
The boys in blue slowed their pace down after the goal and gave the visiting Force chances to get back into the game. A headed goal from a corner in the 23rd minute and a quick breakaway in the 24th suddenly put Los Angeles in the lead, 2-1.
Finding themselves behind, the Chattanooga lads turned back up the heat and reignited their attacking intent. After subjecting the visitors to a good bit of pressure, an equalizer finally arrived in the 33rd minute. Taylor Gray beat his man on the outside and floated in a great cross, which was just out of reach of the keeper and just in reach of McGrath who headed it home.
One point certainly wasn’t all the CFC wanted from the game, and they continued pushing to restore their lead. Just before the stroke of halftime, a hustling Brett Jones kept the ball in play for the offense and knocked it over to Ian Cerro, who brought the ball down before hitting the half volley into the net to bring the score to 3-2.
It’s a wonder that the score remained the same through the second half. The game was just as open, abounding with chances for both sides. Markus Naglestad hit the crossbar twice, once from a free kick and once from an audacious 50-yard attempt to catch the keeper off his line. The boys in blue had to withstand some late pressure, but the defense held firm and earned all three points with a final score of 3-2.
Taylor Gray earned the fans' vote of Man of the Match after a skilled performance on the wing. His ability to beat players on the dribble created numerous opportunities throughout the game, including the assist on the equalizing goal.
Chattanooga FC have come from behind to win twice in four days now, showing incredible determination to overcome a congested schedule and maximize points as they push for playoff soccer at Fort Finley. The Saturday night victory ensures that Chattanooga remains in the driver’s seat for a first-round bye and a semifinals match right here in the Scenic City. The journey continues on the road as Chattanooga FC takes on the Michigan Stars on Sunday, September 18th.
They return to Finley Stadium on Saturday, September 24. Tickets are available at CFCTIX.com.