Bill Elliott wasn't upset after his Chattanooga Football Club dropped its conference championship match Saturday night. He wasn't disappointed.
He was bewildered.
Stunned may be an even better way to describe Elliott's mood after CFC lost 6-5 to the Atlanta Silverbacks in a penalty-kick shootout in the National Premier Soccer League South Region's Southeast Conference final at Finley Stadium, ending CFC's season short of the national playoffs for a second consecutive season.
The score was 0-0 through overtime.
Atlanta (9-4-3) moves on to visit Sunshine Conference champion Miami FC (11-2-3) — a 3-1 winner in its championship match against the Jacksonville Armada — Tuesday in the region semifinals. The other semifinal will pit Heartland Conference champion Little Rock (9-3) against the winner of the top-ranked Laredo Heat (11-0) and the Dutch Lions (9-3).
Elliott was confused during the shootout because CFC goalkeeper Phil D'Amico was called twice for moving "off his line" prior to the shooter making his attempt, allowing a second opportunity. D'Amico had stopped both attempts.
"Every keeper moves early on every PK," Elliott said. "To call two calls back like that, it's shocking, really. Shocking shocking.
"I've been around soccer my entire life — as a player, as a coach — and I've never seen anything like it."
The CFC coach felt good about his first five penalty kickers, each of whom made his attempt: Jose Ferraz, Felipe Oliveira, Pierre Bocquet, Daniel Valenciano and Joao Costa.
On CFC's sixth attempt, Cameron Woodfin sailed a shot high, and Atlanta's Mohammed Issahaku nailed a shot for the winner.
"We knew we had five solid kickers," Elliott said. "It should have been over by then, to be honest with you, but it's unfortunate."
For a brief moment in regulation Saturday, CFC thought it had a lead. Valenciano fielded a cross and sent a touch pass with the heel of his foot to defender Everson Lima, who punched in a shot only to be called offside.
From that point forward, the home team dominated possession and opportunities. Moments after Lima's score was negated, captain Juan Hernandez ripped a shot just wide of the goal, followed by an opportunity by Stephen Ricketts that the Atlanta goalkeeper had to range to his left to knock away.
D'Amico had a number of key saves, none larger than a penalty-kick attempt by Atlanta's Aaron Walker in the second overtime after the Silverbacks' Karsimi Konneh was fouled inside the Chattanooga box.
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