In their third meeting in three weeks tonight, there should be few surprises when the Chattanooga Football Club hosts Rocket City United at Finley Stadium.
Chattanooga FC has won the first two meetings this season 2-0 — in the U.S. Open Cup qualifying regional and last Saturday in Huntsville, Ala.
Tuesday, CFC, an amateur team, nearly stunned the professional Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup. Chattanooga had a 2-0 lead early in the second half but couldn’t hold on, falling 3-2 in overtime.
Coach Brian Crossman said it was a disappointing loss after CFC played so well for the first 65 minutes or so, but he said there were plenty of positives to take away from the game.
“Watching us in the first half, we played really well and dealt with some heavy pressure defensively,” he said. “I thought we played as a team, in terms of tactics, at least as well as they did. I think that’s why we were up 2-0.
“We were in a very good position. We just didn’t finish it off.”
The Riverhounds play in the United Soccer Leagues pro division, which is the next level down from Major League Soccer. CFC, which plays in the amateur National Premier Soccer League, can’t train the way pro teams do, Crossman said.
“One of the differences between us being a high amateur team and them being a pro team is they train every day,” he said. “They have something the guys are responsible for each day, and it would be hard for us to do that here because of travel and guys with full-time jobs.”
The defending NPSL Southeast Conference champions, Chattanooga FC is 3-1-1 in NPSL play and in second place behind the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves (3-1-2).
Soccer fans can attend the Tennessee-Georgia high school all-star doubleheader — beginning with the girls’ game at 1 p.m. — and the 7 p.m. NPSL game for $5.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...