The Chattanooga Football Club wasn't in top form Saturday against the Mississippi Storm - there were many missed scoring chances and some defensive lapses - but it played well enough for a 3-0 win.
Luke Winter had a goal and two assists in CFC's second shutout in three National Premier Soccer League games this season. CFC (2-1 NPSL Southeast) has outscored its opponents 8-0 in two games at Finley Stadium.
"We didn't play well but we still won, so that's showing that we're starting to get used to each other," Winter said. "If you don't play well, normally you don't win."
CFC was up 2-0 at halftime and put the game away with a goal 11 minutes into the second half. Among the announced crowd of 2,098 at the stadium was U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, who spoke at halftime about remembering the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Chattanooga FC came into Saturday's game having lost two straight games -- in overtime in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup on May 14 and 1-0 to NPSL newcomer Gulfcoast Texans in Pensacola, Fla., on May 18.
Practice time has been hard to come by due to travel and weather. That's still showing, CFC coach Bill Elliott said, even after three practices leading up to Saturday's game.
"It was sloppy at points, and if we're going to achieve anything close to what we did last year [reaching the NPSL title game], we're going to have to tighten up defensively a little bit and we're going to have to be a little bit sharper on the ball," he said. "But considering we've had four games and four practices, every practice hopefully will move us closer to doing those things."
CFC took the lead 1-0 in the 14th minute when John Carrier scored following a shot off the post by Jose Ferraz. Carrier's goal capped an odd series of plays that included the ball slowly rolling toward the goal with nobody there to punch it in or stop it until just before it was saved near the goal line.
Six minutes later, Winter put a shot past Storm goalkeeper Carl Blundell for a 2-0 lead. In the 56th minute, Thibault Charmey scored on a 27-yard strike to make it 3-0.
Chattanooga FC visits the Knoxville Force next Saturday.
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.