Chattanooga Football Club coach Brian Crossman called it "old timers" night at Finley Stadium on Saturday, namely because he had a 46-year-old on his bench as the backup goalkeeper.
Richard Northcutt wasn't needed in Chattanooga FC's 2-0 win over Rocket City United, but he was available if starter Thomas Hunter went down. That seemed a possibility when Hunter was slow to get up after a collision in the first half.
"The kid that was sitting next to me went 'Oh no,' and I went, 'He's going to be OK,'" said Northcutt, a former NAIA All-American at Covenant College.
Asked if he was hoping for a 3-0 lead late so he'd have a chance to get in, Northcutt replied "10-0 maybe, then there'd be some confidence about going in there with about five minutes left."
All three of CFC's wins over Rocket City this season have been 2-0 games. Including stoppage time, that's about 280 minutes of action without allowing a goal.
Saturday's win put CFC into first place in the National Premier Soccer League Southeast Conference standings, two points in front of the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves, who visit Finley next Saturday.
While most of CFC's roster is made up of players in their 20s, there are some 30-somethings, including Saturday starters Nick Odeny and Moises Drummond.
Northcutt was brought in to back up Hunter in goal because CFC didn't have another keeper available. Juan Roblez suffered a knee injury last month and the other backup, Ryan Peck, was out of town.
Enter Northcutt, who graduated from Covenant in 1989, right around the time a few of his CFC teammates were born.
"We practiced Thursday and it wasn't as bad as my worst fears," he said. "Several times during the week I said to my wife, 'I'm going to dress? And I'm a play away from stepping in there?'"
CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said he was a freshman at Covenant when Northcutt was a senior, and they both played for the Chattanooga Railroaders and Chattanooga Express in the 1990s.
Drummond, the soccer coach at Soddy-Daisy High School, had a couple of good scoring chances in the first half. One shot rolled wide right and a header hit the post.
"Moises gave us some good minutes there at the beginning of the game," Crossman said.
Mark Sherrod scored on a diving header less than three minutes into the second half to put CFC up 1-0. Chris Ochieng scored on a breakaway in the 63rd minute to make it 2-0.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.