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The Chattanooga Football Club cut a two-goal deficit in half twice during Wednesday's match against the Oakland Roots SC, but that was as close as CFC got in a 3-2 loss in the NISA fall championship tournament semifinals at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, Michigan.

Oakland moves on to Friday's title match against the winner of Wednesday's late semifinal between Detroit City FC and the Los Angeles Force. The fall champion is to meet the winner of the NISA spring tournament next year to decide the league's 2020-21 overall crown.

While the loss wraps ups CFC's time in the Detroit area, the club still has two exhibition matches remaining on its 2020 schedule, both at Finley Stadium: Oct. 17 against Metro Louisville FC and Oct. 24 against the Maryland Bobcats FC.

CFC's first match this year, which was also the 12-year-old team's debut as a professional club and a member of the National Independent Soccer Association, was a 1-1 tie with Oakland in late February in California after the Roots rallied.

On Wednesday, the Roots established themselves quickly with a sixth-minute goal by Johnny Rodriguez and a 19th-minute score from Angel Heredia, and the match went to halftime with CFC still down 2-0.

CFC scored in the first minute of the second half on Ian McGrath's header, but Oakland answered two minutes later with a goal by Matthew Fondy to make it 3-1. Ryan Marcano's 77th-minute score offered more hope to CFC, but even 10 minutes of extra time was not enough to overcome the deficit.

CFC is 7-2-3 overall this year, with the highlights including an NISA Independent Cup Southeast Region title in the summer and a NISA Eastern Conference regular-season championship this fall.

Compiled by Marty Kirkland. Contact him at mkirkland@timesfreepress.com.

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