Chattanooga FC wins NISA opener in shutout at Finley

Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Chattanooga's Mutaya Mwape celebrates after scoring his second goal in Saturday's home win against Gold Star FC Detroit.

Right forward Mutaya Mwape scored two goals, both on assists from left forward Taylor Gray, as the Chattanooga Football Club opened its 2023 regular season Saturday with a 3-0 home win over National Independent Soccer Association newcomer Gold Star FC Detroit.

Mwape, a 26-year-old from Zambia in his first season with Chattanooga FC, celebrated his brace with a backflip after sending a beautiful shot past the diving keeper and to the back right corner of the net in the 54th minute at Finley Stadium.

The first goal was set up by Richard Dixon's attack. He found Gray on the left sideline, where he sped down into the left side of the box to cross to Mwape for the opening goal in the 27th minute.

Markus Naglestad, whose 19 goals in league play led NISA last year, found paydirt once again as his penalty kick capped the scoring in the 64th minute after he was fouled while trying to head in a cross. Last year's league MVP faked out the keeper once, then punched his shot into the back right corner.

Former Cal United Strikers keeper Jean Antoine had his first clean sheet for CFC, which will travel to Iowa to face USL League Two's Des Moines Menace in a U.S. Open Cup second-round match at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Saturday's announced attendance was 2,756.

CFC's next NISA match is April 16 against Albion San Diego in California. The next league match at Finley is April 22 against Flower City Union.

Compiled by Patrick MacCoon. Contact him at