Chattanooga Red Wolves open season by earning point on road

Staff file photo by Robin Rudd/ First-year Chattanooga Red Wolves coach Jimmy Obleda has yet to make his debut, with the USL League One 2020 soccer season still on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Jimmy Obleda said earlier this week that he was looking for a good result from the Chattanooga Red Wolves' season opener at South Georgia Tormenta FC.

The team's new head coach got what he wanted. Kind of.

The Red Wolves earned a 2-2 draw Saturday night at Erk Russell Park in Statesboro, starting their coronavirus pandemic-delayed 2020 schedule by earning a point in the USL League One standings.

Chattanooga returns to competition at home next weekend, opening the professional soccer club's new CHI Memorial Stadium in East Ridge with a match against FC Tucson at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Similar to last season, their debut campaign, a late defensive breakdown cost the Red Wolves two points. The second of two Greg Hurst goals gave the visitors a 2-1 edge in the 61st minute, and Chattanooga - 2-7-5 on the road in 2019 - seemed poised to earn three points.

"The season is a sprint, it's not a marathon, you know?" Obleda said earlier this week. "So, you know, in one weekend or a couple of weekends, you can be top of the table and then suddenly be bottom of the table. So the reality for us is to get a good result, too.

"We're hoping that the team looks good enough to where we're saying, 'Oh, we can keep building on that,' and so it's important to get off to a good start and maintain it because it's all about consistency."

The Red Wolves controlled possession just more than 52% of the time, but they also gave up 12 shots by Tormenta, five of which were on goal compared to four for the Red Wolves.

Chattanooga goalkeeper Alex Mangels had three saves. In addition to Hurst's two goals, Mark Hernandez and Ricardo Zacarias were credited with shots on goal.

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