At the end of a wild second half Saturday night, the Chattanooga Football Club had the biggest win of its inaugural season -- a 4-0 victory against Pumas FC -- in front of its largest crowd ever.
There was a push for the past week to get more than 5,000 fans to show up at Finley Stadium for Saturday's home finale. Chattanooga FC didn't get that many -- downtown was the hot place to be on the Fourth of July -- but the announced attendance was 3,014, the largest turnout for any of the team's four home games this season by nearly 1,000.
The attendance appeared larger than that and often roared with the volume of a much bigger crowd, especially in the second half when a little bit of everything happened and Chattanooga FC (3-3-1)scored all four goals.
"It was an awesome game, and the fans, they were our 12th man," said forward Omar Cooke, who scored the game's first goal.
If the fans were Chattanooga's 12th man, that's three more than Birmingham-based Pumas (2-4) had on the field at the end. Two Pumas players were given red cards and sent off the field in the second half, giving Chattanooga a 11-9 numbers advantage.
The red cards were only part of Pumas' problems. Early in the first half, the visitors' starting goalkeeper was injured in a collision and left the game with a knee injury. In the first minute of the second half, the backup keeper left with a leg injury, forcing the team to go with its third-string man in goal.
In the first half, Chattanooga -- which lost 3-0 at Pumas the week before -- dominated possession and put numerous good shots on goal. However, the game remained scoreless.
"We did a lot of things right in the first half. We just weren't able to get a goal," Chattanooga coach Brian Crossman said. "The same thing happened last week when we lost to them: We had the better of play but weren't able to finish when we had scoring chances."
Cooke, who played at Carson-Newman College, converted a scoring chance in the 60th minute. He beat the goalkeeper to a loose ball near the top of the penalty box and then quickly fired a shot into the back left corner of the goal from an awkward angle on the right side.
The score was still 1-0 in the 75th minute when Pumas' second red card opened the flood gates.
In the 81st minute, forward Moises Drumond, the Soddy-Daisy High School coach, scored on a hard drive into the left side of the goal. Two minutes later, Fynn Glover, a former Baylor School standout, scored on a strike from outside the penalty box for a 3-0 advantage.
Another Chattanooga native, Elliott Anderson, scored the game's final goal in the closing minutes.
"You sometimes see teams not take advantage of situations like that, and we were able to tonight," Crossman said. "People let up a little bit and not take care of business on the field, but we spread the field and kept getting the ball to people that could finish."
Chattanooga's most lopsided previous win was 2-0 at home over Saturn FC on June 7. The local team closes out its first season this Saturday at Saturn FC in Marietta, Ga.