Despite injuries, Chattanooga Football Clu able to get point, tie for first

Despite injuries, Chattanooga Football Clu able to get point, tie for first

June 20th, 2014 by Gene Henley in Sportlocal

Chattanooga Football Club head coach Bill Elliott talks with the team after a recent practice in Finley Stadium.

Photo by Erin O. Smith/Times Free Press.

Luckily, the Chattanooga Football Club men have developed depth.

So far this season, they've needed it.

The team battled Rocket City United to a 1-all draw Wednesday night in Huntsville. That gave Chattanooga FC a point and a first-place tie with the New Orleans Jesters with 14 points in the National Premier Soccer League Southeast Division standings with three matches left to play.

Currently playing without Luke Winter, who leads the team with five goals, and Chris Ochieng, one of four players with two goals each, Chattanooga FC (5-2-2, 4-1-2) took a 1-0 advantage on Thibault Charmey's third goal of the year in the sixth minute.

It was the second consecutive match that Charmey has scored.

"One thing about our team is that we have a lot of players that can score," CFC coach Bill Elliott said Thursday. "It's why we're surviving this tough spot, but every game we're getting thinner and thinner, so I'm hoping we can continue that."

John Carrier went down with a hamstring injury Wednesday, and his status was undetermined as of Thursday. Coach Bill Elliott said that Ochieng, a forward, should return for Saturday's home match against Knoxville FC.

Much like when the United States national team scored very early in its World Cup match Monday against Ghana, CFC was unable to hold off Rocket City for the rest of the match. Andrew Nkurunungi scored for the hosts in the 50th minute, and even though the visitors had the better of possession the rest of the match, they were unable to put another goal across.

"It wasn't our best performance, but we played well considering it was our third game in six days," Elliott said. "All things considering -- travel to Nashville, now to Huntsville, the guys working camps in the sun all day-- we did well to get a point and did well enough to win the game, but not enough to get the final goal past the keeper. [After we scored], our plan was to go for another goal; however, the natural mentality of athletes under those circumstances is to relax and take the foot off the gas. We talked about pushing for another goal, but you could see the players' energy level drop a little bit.

"We recovered when they scored and had several really good chances, but we couldn't put them away."

After Saturday's match against Knoxville -- the second half of a doubleheader -- the Chattanooga men will host the Jesters on June 28 before their regular-season finale at home against Rocket City on July 4. The goal in those matches is to do whatever it takes to secure yet another playoff spot.

"We want to score goals and win games," Elliott said. "Our objective every time out is to score two or more goals. We'd like to do it but can't always do it, so whether the goals come in bunches, come early in the match or late, we're happy either way.

"We're just thinking about one game at a time now and trying to earn points. Our goal is the playoffs, and hopefully over these next few matches we'll get a little healthier, which should make us a little sharper."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.