Fresh off a season-opening road victory, the Chattanooga Football Club will face Reading United AC in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup this evening at 7:30 at Finley Stadium.
The Pennsylvania club plays in the Premier Development League with ties to the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Reading also won its first match of the 2016 season last Saturday, defeating Lehigh Valley United 1-0.
"I think they'll be a very well-organized, young, athletic team," Chattanooga FC coach Bill Elliott said Tuesday. "They do a nice job of moving players on to the professional level, so we're expecting a big test."
CFC has won at least one match in each of the two previous Open Cups and won two in last year's tournament before an overtime loss to the Atlanta Silverbacks of the North American Soccer League. This season CFC is guaranteed a second home match next week with a win tonight.
"I think they'll be aware of what we've done (in previous seasons)," Elliott said of the Reading contingent. "They have professional coaches that have done their research and are aware of who we are and what we like to do."
Elliott's team began its season with a 1-0 win over the Birmingham Hammers on a first-half goal by Samuel Goni. CFC's league home opener is Saturday against Nashville FC, so quickly sorting out the roster with its mixture of youth and experience is important for Elliott and his staff.
"On Saturday, we had some experienced players show their experience and maturity," Elliott said. "They made good decisions at the right times, and I thought that was important.
"I think we all feel pretty good, but Wednesday night is the second of three games in eight days and that's a tough ask for full-time pros — never mind those that play part of the year — so we'll have to be mindful of that in our squad selection."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/ genehenleytfp.