A long weekend came to a great close Saturday night for the Chattanooga Football Club, which rallied in the second half for a 3-2 victory over the Georgia Revolution at Finley Stadium.
Three second-half goals in front of 1,410 fans improved Chattanooga FC's record to 5-2-1 overall and 4-1-1 in the National Premier Soccer League's Southeast Division -- good for first place.
CFC had bus issues Friday night on the way to Nashville. It caused the match there -- a win, at least -- to start a little late, and the problem was compounded with more bus issues on the way home. The team arrived back in Chattanooga about 4:30 Saturday morning and was sluggish in the first half Saturday night, having far better possession but nothing to show for it.
There were CFC breakaways that produced no result; shots on goal gobbled up by Revolution keeper Pritchard Noaira; other shot attempts from close that sailed high or wide or both. Meanwhile, the Revolution had only a couple of dangerous opportunities in the first half but scored on both of them: headers by Warren Visah in the 18th minute and Scott Redding in the 34th.
"Our sluggish first half was no surprise," CFC coach Bill Elliott said, "but I was really impressed by how we did what we talked about doing at halftime tactically. The players came out and did it. They absorbed what we were asking of them and executed, and showed a lot of character. We were tired; everything was stacked against us. Do we have enough character to go out and fight for it? Or give it away?
"We answered that question pretty well tonight."
Luis Trude played a big role in the result, with a goal and an assist in the second half. His goal came on a free kick in the 62nd minute that was deflected into the goal, and then CFC benefited when Visah was ejected two minutes later for throwing a punch at a CFC player.
The Chattanooga club evened the match in the 75th on a goal by Niall McCabe, assisted by Michael Brooks, and Trude made a nice cross that was headed in by Thibald Charmey five minutes later.
"We had opportunities early that we didn't score on, and it was frustrating, but I think this team is mature," Trude said. "We knew it was coming, and we had great timing. Once we got that first goal, we got comfortable and played with a lot more confidence."
CFC has a road makeup match against Rocket City United scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30. But top priority Saturday night was for the players and coaches to get some rest.
"A good night's sleep is what I need for sure," Elliott said. "I'm sure the boys are tired. We have the away match Wednesday, but we feel way better to go on having pulled this one out of our hat."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.