U.S. OPEN CUP QUALIFYING
• Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves 3, Jacksonville United FC 1
• Chattanooga FC 2, Rocket City United 0
• Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves vs. Chattanooga FC, 7 p.m.
The Chattanooga Football Club dominated play in the first half Saturday but failed to score. In a much more even second half against Rocket City United, Chattanooga FC found the back of the net twice.
CFC got two goals in an eight-minute stretch and prevailed 2-0 in its U.S. Open Cup regional qualifying semifinal at Finley Stadium.
Chattanooga FC will face the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves tonight for a spot in the first round of the Cup. The Silverbacks broke open a 1-1 game in the final 10 minutes Saturday to defeat Jacksonville United FC 3-1.
After coming up empty numerous times in the first half, CFC finally scored in the 66th minute. Forward Chris Ochieng got a shot off at the top of the penalty box, just before a running Rocket City goalkeeper Tyler Early could get to him.
The shot was off line by a couple of feet, but James Moore was able to run it down and send it into the empty net.
Ochieng got his goal in the 74th minute when he headed in a Mark Sherrod cross to make it 2-0.
Juan Robles, a senior at SMU, made his first start in goal for CFC, replacing Thomas Hunter. Robles had to leave the game in the 67th minute, however, following a hard collision with CFC fullback Andrew Stewart. Hunter took over and kept the shutout going.
CFC had reason for optimism at halftime because of numerous good scoring chances, including a penalty shot. But the club missed on all those chances.
After Ochieng was taken down in the penalty box in the 20th minute, CFC’s Ivan Heredia lined up for the one-on-one shot against Rocket City goalkeeper Tyler Early. Heredia sent a low shot to Early’s right that the keeper was able to block and save.
Rocket City didn’t put a shot on goal in the first 45 minutes — less than 24 hours after scoring seven goals in Friday’s win over FC Tulsa. In the 61st minute, CFC fullback Alex Rodriguez saved a goal by clearing the ball away in front of an empty net.
Chattanooga FC caught a break when Rocket City’s Kenniel Hyde, who scored four goals Friday, left the game with an injury just before halftime.
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 ...