Blue Ridge Blowout
For the first time since the 2013 season, Chattanooga FC failed to advance out of the first round of the National Premier Soccer League playoffs, dropping a heartbreaking 2-1 decision Inter Nashville FC in the postseason opener on July 12.
However, the boys in blue weren’t about to let their season end with a loss.
Facing Asheville City (N.C.) Soccer Club in the inaugural Blue Ridge Derby this past Wednesday, Chattanooga FC defended the home turf with one of the club’s most dominating performances in team history.
Samuel Goni scored three straight goals in the first half, John Carrier found the net twice and CFC blasted Asheville City, 9-0, in front of several thousand jubilant supporters at Fort Finley.
The Blue Ridge Derby match, which was announced in early July,
will be an annual match that will rotate between the two cities. Asheville City plays in the East Division of the NPSL’s Southeast Conference, while Chattanooga FC competes in the West Division.
After a couple of solid scoring chances - and outstanding saves - on both sides, Chattanooga FC got the first goal of the match as Carrier redirected a crossing pass from Cameron Woodfin into the back of the net in the 17th minute.
However, it was the night’s second goal that would swing the momentum the way of the home team for good.
In the 24th minute, Chattanooga FC veteran Leo DeSmedt caught
Asheville City keeper Dakotah Bainter too far off his line and launched a shot from midfield. Bainter tried to recover, but the ball got over his head and found the top right corner of the net for the improbable tally.
From there, it was all CFC.
Samuel Goni, another veteran who has battled injuries all season, got into the act with a hat trick in a span of just over 12 minutes. The first two goals came on nifty assists from Luke Winter, while Goni scored his third goal just seconds into the announced one minute of extra time before the halftime whistle.
Asheville City replaced Bainter with Jarrett Payne to begin the second half, but it did nothing to stem the
Carrier fired a rocket from inside the box to make it 6-0 in the 52nd minute and a corner kick from Caleb Cole found the head of Dino Jones to make it 7-0. In the 76th minute, former Calhoun High School and current Shorter University standout Darwin Lom knocked in the eighth goal and another fan favorite, Jose “Zeca” Ferraz rounded out the scoring late.
Chattanooga FC players later celebrated with the Chattahooligans and the rest of the fans before hoisting the Blue Ridge Derby trophy, a beer keg that has been painted up with team logos and names of each team’s home bar, Chattanooga Brewery and Asheville’s Hi-Wire Brewery.