An encouraging start to the second half for the Chattanooga Football Club women was met with a flurry from the Knoxville Lady Force that quickly turned the tables.
Chattanooga FC took a 2-1 lead soon after halftime, but the Lady Force came back with three goals in a four-minute span and won 4-2 Friday night at Finley Stadium. It was the Women’s Premier Soccer League season opener for both teams.
“It was a game of ebbs and flows, and there were some times they pressed us and made it difficult to play,” CFC coach Erin Lycan Ridley said. “We kept a high line and they took advantage. I told them I take full responsibility because we haven’t been able to address some aspects of keeping a high line like being ready to drop back on long balls. We weren’t in a good shape.”
The Lady Force were first on the board with a goal from Jaden Barrett in the sixth minute. Barrett got a cross deep in the box from Amanda Devolle and finished.
CFC was able to settle in after the early goal and equalized on Lizzy Shaughnessy’s strike. She controlled the ball at the top of the box, turned and took a touch before firing away.
“I honestly couldn’t see the goal because of the sun,” Shaughnessy said. “So I took a touch and tried to find the corner.”
Both teams had opportunities to take the lead before halftime, as a Knoxville shot was tipped by CFC keeper Abbey Saddler and hit the crossbar and a couple of CFC shots slid just wide.
Coming out of halftime 1-1, Anna Lanter showed off some range to give CFC a lead. Lanter’s shot from well outside trickled in after bouncing near a colliding Lady Force keeper and CFC forward.
“We have players that make good decisions with time and space and are able to move it around a little bit,” Ridley said. “Our goals are a result of that. We were able to create width in the final third and had some chances that were quite dangerous.”
Madison Salter responded with two goals for Knoxville to make it 3-2. Salter’s first goal was an impressive volley that curled inside the right post.
“They brought lots of high pressure,” Shaughnessy said. “They created good chances and were able to finish them. We’ll have some things to work on in training. We have to relax, and if we make a mistake just put it out of our head and move on.”
Gabby Powers wrapped up the scoring in the 66th minute, streaking ahead of the defense for the finish.
“We’re disappointed with the result, but we definitely have a lot we can build on,” Ridley said. “There were positives for us tonight, and we’ll get back to work.”
Contact Idris Garcia at email@example.com.