The Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club staged a late rally in its USL League One season opener Saturday night but fell 3-2 to North Texas SC in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Steven Beattie boomed in a shot from nearly 30 yards out off an Eamon Zayed assist in the 83rd minute for the first goal in Red Wolves history. Beattie's blast found the back right of the net.
In stoppage time, the Wolves' Vangjel Zguro sent a long ball from the left sideline to a streaking Richard Dixon, who went uncovered on the far right to dive and head in a score to the back left.
Although the Red Wolves outshot North Texas 8-6, they could not stop 16-year-old standout Ricardo Pepi. The budding phenom landed a hat trick in his debut for the affiliate of MLS franchise FC Dallas.
Pepi scored in the 13th, 62nd and 78th minutes in his first competitive professional game and was assisted twice by Oscar Romero.
Jonathan Caparelli won all five of his tackles, while Nicholas Amponsah finished with four interceptions and eight clearances for the Red Wolves.
They will make their home debut at Chattanooga Christian School next Saturday against Forward Madison FC from Wisconsin. The match will kick off at 7 p.m.