Atlanta, GA ( July 13th, 2018 ) – The Atlanta Silverbacks Football Club travels to Chattanooga FC Saturday night in the NPSL Southeast Conference Championship. Kickoff is 7:30 PM at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The winner will be crowned 2018 NPSL Southeast Conference Champion and advance to the NPSL South Region Semifinal Tuesday against the Sunshine Conference Champion. The Sunshine Conference Championship between Miami FC 2 and Jacksonville Armada FC is Saturday night in Miami, kicking off at 7:00 PM.
Undoubtedly the Goliath in this championship scenario, CFC has proven their worth as the league’s top team. They earned the regular season championship by finishing with 28 points (8 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses) and a stellar defensive record. CFC finished the regular season with a conference-low 1.08 goals allowed per game.
Like Atlanta, Chattanooga FC entered the postseason with a four-match unbeaten streak. And like Atlanta, they earned a 2-0 shutout win Thursday night at home. CFC had not been defeated since they lost to Georgia Revolution at home on June 23rd, but the script would be flipped in the semifinal. Juan Hernandez found the back of the net in the 73rd minute to give Chattanooga the 1-0 advantage, then Joao Costa continued his stellar season with the game-sealing goal in the 89th.
During Chattanooga’s five-match unbeaten streak, Atlanta was the only team to earn a draw. While conditions were relaxed Sunday afternoon at Silverbacks Park, they will be anything but Saturday night at Fort Finley.
Even though these teams have played twice this season, it is hard to get a definitive read on how they will match up. In their first matchup on June 20th in Chattanooga, both defenses stood strong for the first 70 or so minutes. While Atlanta’s back line consisted of starters like Ryan Marcano, Abdul Bangura, and Manuel Moreno, the Silverback offense was woefully undermanned. Despite this, reserve forward Thierry Jules managed to find the back of the net first, giving Atlanta a 1-0 road lead. In the final fifteen minutes, everything unravelled as the home team racked up four goals and secured a comfortable home win.
After three venue changes and a weather postponement, their second matchup finally came on July 8th at Silverbacks Park. Both teams had locked up the first and second seeds, respectively, and played conservative lineups and tactics in the tacit 1-1 draw.
While there is no question the home team is firing on all cylinders, the visiting Silverbacks will be bringing all the offensive fire power they have to Fort Finley Saturday night. No one in the conference can question these are the two best teams. The only question left: can the Goliath Chattanooga FC be slain by the David Silverbacks?
Weather could play a factor Saturday night, as the forecast calls for roughly a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms. If you are making the trip up I-75, be sure to monitor the forecast.
Just two hours separate these two teams, so the expectation is to see red and black mixed into the shades of blue at Finley Stadium. For those making the trip, take a look at what to do and see in the ‘Noog.
The best place to grab a pre-match drink?
Chattanooga Brewing Co. – Not only is CBC the official beer sponsor at Chattanooga FC, they are the closest spot to grab a drink without being inside Finley Stadium. Just across Chestnut St from the field, there will be plenty of soccer fans getting prepped for the match. Chatt Brew has nine of their own brews on tap, a selection of food, and even outdoor seating. This should be the perfect spot to grab a pint before the showdown at Finley. They open at 11:00 AM on Wednesday.
Best options for dinner?
Southern Belle Riverboat ( 5 minutes from Finley Stadium ) – For a more unique experience that could or could not involve a meal, the Southern Belle Riverboat can provide scenic views of the Chattanooga area via a cruise on the Tennessee River.
Public House Restaurant ( 3 minutes from Finley Stadium ) – If you’re looking for a more upscale dining option closer to the stadium, Public House offers a locally sourced Southern cuisine with an impressive wine list.
Taco Mamacita (10 minutes from Finley Stadium ) – A taqueria? You’ve seen that before. But Taco Mamacita is more than your run-of-the-mill Mexican cuisine. The uncommon fusion with Peruvian dishes gives this spot a unique flare. Their claims to fame are funky-fusion tacos, fantastic margaritas, and roasted Peruvian chicken!
Unique spot or landmark that not all traveling fans would know about?
Chattanooga Choo Choo ( 3 minutes from Finley Stadium ) – The old Terminal Station was a focal point of the locomotive expansion in the south in the early 20th century. Nowadays, the historic structure is a staple of Chattanooga as an elegant hotel that remains tethered to its train car roots. Aside from the ability to stay in train cars converted to hotel rooms, there is plenty of food, drink, shopping, and more at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Tennessee Aquarium / Tennessee River Walk ( 7 minutes from Finley Stadium ) – Before the opening of the Georgia Aquarium, the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga was a regional mecca for aquamarine adventure and nautical knowledge. Use the aquarium as an air-conditioned escape after a stroll on the Tennessee River Walk.
Walnut St Bridge / Coolidge Park ( 9 minutes from Finley Stadium ) – From the aquarium and river walk, take the world’s longest pedestrian bridge across the Tennessee River to Coolidge Park. There, you will find an interactive water fountain, rock climbing, riverfront green space, and the 100-year-old antique carousel.
For updates and information about the match in Chattanooga, be sure to follow Chattanooga FC on Facebook or Twitter. If you cannot make the trip, visit chattanoogafc.com for the match broadcast before the 7:30 PM kickoff. You can also tune in to Silverbacks social media channels for match updates!