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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / A Chattanooga Red Wolves SC fan holds up a team scarf during a USL League One match against FC Tucson on Aug. 1 at CHI Memorial Stadium in East Ridge.

This story was corrected at 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2020, to remove a reference to Patrick Okonkwo joining the Chattanooga Red Wolves SC via loan from Atlanta United FC. Okonkwo is under contract with the Red Wolves.

Earlier this season, the Chattanooga Red Wolves turned to Major League Soccer to solidify their midfield.

Now they've gone back to MLS in hopes of providing some depth up front.

The Red Wolves have added 22-year-old forward Patrick Okonkwo to their roster from Atlanta United FC. Okonkwo will be available Saturday when the Red Wolves (3-2-3) face the Richmond Kickers (4-1-2) at 1 p.m. at CHI Memorial Stadium in East Ridge.

It will be the first match of an important homestand against the three teams ahead of Chattanooga in the USL League One standings. The Red Wolves, who last month added MLS rookie midfielder Tanner Dieterich on a loan from expansion club Nashville SC, host Union Omaha next Tuesday and the Greenville Triumph SC the following Saturday, Sept. 19.

Coach Jimmy Obleda's team beat the New England Revolution II on Wednesday night in Foxborough, Massachusetts, to earn its first road win of the year and add a point in the standings.

Okonkwo's signing could be a crucial move for the Red Wolves, whose leading scorer (Greg Hurst) and attacking midfielder (Marky Hernandez) have both been dealing with injuries.

"First I want to say thank you to (Red Wolves general manager) Sean McDaniel and Coach Jimmy for this amazing opportunity to learn and improve my game again," Okonkwo, who was born in Nigeria but now calls Atlanta his hometown, said in a Red Wolves release. "This organization has shown me how to appreciate being on a team, understanding that it's never just about you, that you're never alone. This is my new family. I'm grateful to be among a great group of guys who are willing to fight and push each other to be great on and off the field."

Okonkwo was signed to Atlanta United's first team in 2017 as a homegrown player, but he hasn't yet appeared in a game for the MLS club, spending time in 2018 with the Charleston Battery and in 2019 with Atlanta United 2 — both are USL Championship teams — and doing so on loan in both cases. He scored seven goals in 39 appearances in the two seasons.

"Patrick's a great late-season addition for us beyond what he brings to the field," McDaniel said. "We love his passion, energy and commitment to the team. We have high hopes for his time here in Chattanooga."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.

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