Chattanooga Football Club head coach Bill Elliott told Sias Reyneke after the club's last match, that he felt if Reyneke could get one goal, then the floodgates could open for the CFC forward.
Oh, how right he was.
The former Cleveland High and Lee University standout scored a pair of goals in Saturday's 6-1 win over Knoxville Force. They were the first goals of the season for Reyneke, who has had his share of unlucky moments in earlier matches but finally snapped through.
"That one goal gets your confidence up a little bit, and then it started going a little bit easier," Reyneke said. "Once I saw that first one go through the net, from there it was a little bit downhill. The boys played well and put me in some good positions, so it was easy for me tonight."
He had one solid opportunity for a hat trick, but barely missed on a diving header in the first half.
"It's nice getting three, but at the end of the day, as long as the team does we and we win -- we put six in tonight -- it doesn't matter who scores," Reyneke said. "I'm happy with the boys that scored and it was a team effort, so it doesn't matter."
A number of delays due to lightning pushed the women's match against Knoxville back from 5 p.m. to 7:30, which in turn pushed back the men's match almost two and a half hours. CFC (6-2-2, 5-1-2) also received goals from Luis Trude, Chris Ochieng, Niall McCabe and Thibault Charmey. The latter two goals came off of penalty kicks as Knoxville started to lose their cool. It only got worse, as the visiting side finished the match with only nine players after a pair of ejections -- one in the first half and one in the second.
Pleased with how his team performed, Elliott jokingly suggested that his club play all of their matches at 10 p.m.
"It seemed too late to kick off for me, but they're all college students," Elliott said. "So if that's the time of night they get going, maybe we should. You don't know what a delay like that will do, but in the locker room, I had a feeling they were ready to play."
Said Reyneke: "I think a big part of the game is being able to adapt. It's obviously different, but we kept our focus. We needed the three points, and we really came out and performed. I wish I could get more sleep tonight, but I don't mind playing this late."
The Chattanooga side played the match without leading goal scorer Luke Winter, who is still nursing knee and ankle injuries. Midfielder John Carrier and defender Chris Lavie also sat the match out, so the primary focus this week is nursing players back to health before the club's match against Southeast Division co-leader New Orleans Jesters on Saturday.
The Jesters won the first match between the two 3-2 in New Orleans.
"Right now, we want to get healthy," Elliott said. "We had a few out with injuries and others banged up but playing through them, so we just want to get healthy now."
• CFC players Luke Winter, John Carrier, James Moore and Gabe Franco are helping run a soccer tournament which will raise money for the Chattanooga Sports Ministries. The tournament, which will be run in a co-ed, 5-versus-5 format, will be held on Saturday at Highland Park Commons.
The entry fee is $70. For more information on entering the tournament, contact Hannah Griggs at email@example.com or 423-503-5175.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.