The Chattanooga Football Club will face the D.C. United Under-23 team for the third time in four years tonight at 7 at Finley Stadium. What makes this exhibition different is some hardware.
The two Volkswagen-sponsored teams will be playing for the VW Cup, which was created this year and will go to the winner. The actual cup was designed by CFC board member Paul Rustand.
United has won the previous two meetings, including 2-1 at Finley last year.
CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said he hopes the teams will play for the VW Cup every season.
"It's our intention to continue to have D.C. United play us, ideally here, each year," McDaniel said.
Tonight's exhibition gives CFC (3-1-2) a break from its National Premier Soccer League schedule. Chattanooga is in first place in the Western division of the Southeast Conference and is coming off a 6-0 home win against the Myrtle Beach Mutiny last Saturday.
CFC coach Bill Elliott said the club will treat tonight's game as an exhibition and give some extra playing time to reserves who haven't had much game action. The team will be without a couple of starters due to previous commitments, and several players with nagging injuries will get some rest before league play resumes next week at Rocket City United.
"We'll have a little bit of a different look," Elliott said. "There are a number of guys that have performed well in practice that will get a chance to play a little more.
"I think we'll be able to put a strong lineup out and hopefully perform well."
Chattanooga FC faced United at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., during CFC's inaugural season. The United was CFC's season finale last season, at Finley Stadium, and the D.C. squad has made the trip south again this season.
Volkswagen helped facilitate the trip to D.C., but McDaniel said the teams have arranged the past two meetings without going through Volkswagen. Volkswagen employees can get into tonight's game for $3 with their identification badges.
United legend Jaime Moreno, one of Major League Soccer's all-time greats, is coaching the U-23s again this season. The U-23s roster is comprised of collegiate players.