The Chattanooga Football Club didn't get a win Saturday night at Finley Stadium in the inaugural VW Cup, but it was another successful exhibition for the amateur soccer club.
More than 1,000 spectators attended the match against D.C. United's Under-23 squad. United scored twice in the first seven minutes and raised the cup with a 2-0 win.
CFC midfielder Luke Winter put a pair of quality shots on goal, but United goalkeeper Jon Dawson was able to deny him both times.
"I had two chances where I really wish I had done better," Winter said. "He made two great saves."
Franck Tayou was credited with both of United's goals, which came in the fifth and seventh minutes. After its rough start, CFC settled down and had the better of the scoring chances the rest of the way.
Exhibition games have been an integral part of CFC's scheduling since the club began in 2009. In that first season, with the help of sponsor Volkswagen, CFC traveled to Washington, D.C., to play the United U-23s at RFK Stadium.
Along with its games against United, Chattanooga FC has hosted F.C. Atlas of Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2010, and the CF Monterrey Rayados U-20 team from Monterrey, Mexico, last season.
General manager Sean McDaniel said it's getting more difficult to schedule exhibitions because the National Premier Soccer League's Southeast conference is growing and there are more league games. The Southeast is split into Eastern and Western divisions this season and CFC has seven league games, with just one off week.
"We've just got so many conference games," McDaniel said. "It's still our goal and intention to keep one weekend open for a marquee exhibition match, and we made it work with D.C. United this year -- and we hope to continue doing it."
The start of the VW Cup signals that CFC and United will continue their series, which might make it difficult for CFC to play more international friendlies. But that doesn't mean Finley won't host international matches.
On July 7, while CFC is wrapping up its regular season at Jacksonville United, two of the top teams from the Mexican Primera Division, Club America and CF Pachuca, will play an exhibition at Finley.
"The Pachuca-Club America game is a way to test the waters for a bigger and marquee international match," McDaniel said. "We're really anxious to see that type of draw, because our goal beyond this year is to create a soccer-central environment at Finley Stadium."
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 ...