The Chattanooga Football Club was hoping to play its first-ever U.S. Open Cup game at Finley Stadium. Instead, U.S. Soccer, via a blind draw, has sent the squad north to face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the first round on June 14.
"In some sense, because we're the new kids on the block, it wasn't surprising that we didn't get to host," CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said. "We've not done anything to prove ourselves to U.S. Soccer at this point, but if we continue down this road next year, we feel like we may have established ourselves a little more."
Chattanooga FC earned a spot in the first round by winning the six-team qualifying regional it hosted last week, beating the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves in the final, 1-0 in overtime.
An amateur team comprised of current and former college players, many of whom have full-time jobs, CFC will be facing a professional Riverhounds team that plays in the United Soccer Leagues Pro division.
McDaniel said U.S. Soccer covers some of the travel costs for the road teams. Because Pittsburgh is about 600 miles from Chattanooga, CFC would prefer to fly, he said.
CFC coach Brian Crossman said he was hoping to host, not only so that the club could play in front of its fans, but also to avoid a long trip.
This is the 98th U.S. Open Cup, which was founded in 1914. Chattanooga FC, meanwhile, is in just its third season and qualified for the annual event in its first attempt.
Chattanooga FC returns to National Premier Soccer League action Saturday when it visits Jacksonville United.
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