Chattanooga FC closes regular season with win; Markus Naglestad secures second straight NISA Golden Boot

Staff file photo by Patrick MacCoon / Chattanooga FC's Markus Naglestad secured a second straight NISA Golden Boot award in Wednesday's regular-season finale, scoring his 16th goal in a 1-0 victory over Club de Lyon at Finley Stadium.
Staff file photo by Patrick MacCoon / Chattanooga FC's Markus Naglestad secured a second straight NISA Golden Boot award in Wednesday's regular-season finale, scoring his 16th goal in a 1-0 victory over Club de Lyon at Finley Stadium.

For the second season in a row, Markus Naglestad and Jean Antoine took home the National Independent Soccer Association's Golden Boot and Golden Glove honors, respectively.

This time, though, they did so as teammates.

The Chattanooga Football Club wrapped up its most dominant regular season as a professional team with a 1-0 victory over Club de Lyon on Wednesday night at Finley Stadium. Chattanooga FC, in its 15th year overall and fourth in the pro ranks, had already wrapped up the NISA regular-season title and was hosting Club de Lyon in a makeup match from September.

Luis Garcia-Sosa set up Naglestad for his golden moment in the 56th minute, pressuring the visitors' back line to deflect a pass that went right to the feet of Naglestad, who boomed it home for his 16th goal of the season. The score broke his tie with the Michigan Stars' Leon Maric and made Naglestad the winner of NISA's Golden Boot as the league's leading scorer.

Naglestad had 19 goals in 23 matches for CFC in 2022, when he also won the NISA Golden Ball as league MVP. The 2023 winner of that honor — which, along with coach of the year, is determined by a vote of NISA coaches — will be announced later. Rod Underwood was selected as the league's top coach in 2022, his first with CFC.

Wednesday was a night of celebration at Finley as CFC (15-2-7, 52 points) was presented the NISA regular-season championship trophy before the match by Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly, a co-founder of the team in 2009.

CFC's play made sure the mood stayed upbeat as Jean Antoine and the defense provided the club's 15th shutout of the season. Antoine won his second straight NISA Golden Glove award as the league's top keeper as CFC allowed just 12 goals this year, nine fewer than the next-best defense in the league.

In 2022, Antoine allowed only five goals with 12 clean sheets in 16 matches for the California United Strikers FC, which did not play this season.

Club de Lyon (6-13-5, 23 points) finished seventh in the nine-team league — ahead of the Savannah Clovers (4-13-7, 19) and Gold Star FC Detroit (3-18-3, 12) — with the six-team playoffs already set after last weekend's results.

CFC has a bye and will host a semifinal at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5. Its opponent will be the lowest seed remaining after this week's two quarterfinals.

The fifth-seeded Maryland Bobcats (11-10-3, 36) visit fourth-seeded Albion San Diego (11-5-8, 41) on Saturday, while sixth-seeded Flower City Union (8-13-3, 27) visits the third-seeded Los Angeles Force (13-6-5, 44) on Sunday.

No. 2 Michigan (13-4-7, 46), which won a semifinal at Finley last year before going on to take the title, will host the highest-remaining seed from the quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 4.

The semifinal winners will meet the following weekend, with the higher seed hosting.

Compiled by Patrick MacCoon. Contact him at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com.