Chattanooga Football Club coach Bill Elliott reached out for some information about his soccer team's opponent this evening, Rocket City United. The response he received was that the Huntsville side was a "tough team to play against."
"I don't know what that means," Elliott said Friday with a laugh.
CFC, which was ranked No. 13 in the first National Premier Soccer League Puma Power Rankings, plays at 7:30 p.m. CDT at John Hunt Park in Huntsville. The visitors are 4-2-1 overall and 3-1-1 in the NPSL's Southeast Division, while Rocket City United is 2-1-1 in league play.
Elliott's club went through a full week of training for the first time all season, as play in the U.S. Open Cup to go along with league matches, injuries and new additions had limited what the team had been able to do thus far. Elliott said CFC got a lot done during the week.
"Tuesday and Wednesday were two of our best days since we've been here," Elliott said. "I think the result was that we could actually train without worrying about having a game tomorrow, so it's been productive."
Elliott said he has worked with a couple of the players on the Alabama team and knows they're good, but he knows little about the overall personnel.
"We'll see what we get," he said. "We're preparing ourselves the best we can without really worrying about what they do, so we'll see how it goes. If it doesn't go well, we'll have more information for when we play them at Finley at the end of the season."
CFC is coming off a fairly complete effort last Saturday in a 4-0 road win over the Knoxville Force. The goals came in a 15-minute flurry in the second half, while the defense -- which had given up five goals in its third-round U.S. Open Cup match against the North America Soccer League's Atlanta Silverbacks -- pitched a solid shutout and limited the opportunities of the Force.
Defender Adam Reakes said Friday that each phase's feat was equally impressive.
"I think once the offense clicked Saturday, that was it," Reakes said. "In the Atlanta game, we just couldn't get the ball in the back of the net. We weren't quite clicking, and when it rains it pours. Against Knoxville, we set the tempo for the rest of the game. It could have been five, six or seven.
"I think NPSL-wise, there's no reason we can't pitch shutouts every game. Against teams like Atlanta and Wilmington, I think that's a tough ask, but it was a good win. Five-0 is a big confidence boost, and I think we are a great defensive unit that's set the precedent, and a bar that must be reached every day. If we challenge ourselves every weekend, we could be really good. If we score six goals, we want to win 6-0."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.