KNOXVILLE — The Chattanooga Football Club’s hopes of a second straight National Premier Soccer League Southeast Conference championship ended in the 89th minute Saturday night.
The Knoxville Force scored on a late header to beat CFC 2-1, allowing Jacksonville United FC and the Georgia Revolution to leap to the top of the standings on the final night of the season. The Revolution and Jacksonville finished with 18 points, one more than CFC.
Chattanooga FC (5-3-2) needed a win in either of its final two games — as it turned out, two ties would have been enough — to clinch the Southeast title but lost both games. CFC fell 4-3 at home to the Revolution last week.
The Force (3-6-1) jumped ahead with a breakaway goal in the sixth minute. It was the third straight NPSL game in which CFC allowed a goal in the first 14 minutes.
CFC forward Chris Ochieng came up empty on several quality shots before tying the game on a penalty kick in stoppage time at the end of the first half. It was his second PK goal in as many games.
The teams went back and forth in the second half, with both goalkeepers making saves to keep the game tied. Late in regulation, the Force got a shot past Thomas Hunter for the winner.
Chattanooga FC wraps up its season next Saturday with an exhibition against D.C. United’s under-23 squad at Finley Stadium.