Coach’s Corner: Force vs Chattanooga FC, 2012 Opener


Knoxville Force vs Chattanooga FC
At Finley Stadium, Chattanooga, TN


Head Coach, Stephen Lyons

The game kicked off in warm weather increased by the effect from Chattanooga’s turf field.  As expected, it was a fairly erratic start from both teams, but it was Chattanooga who began to dominate possession.   The Force did not settle into any rhythm and did not focus on implementing the game style and roles we had worked on over the past few weeks.  After the first 25 minutes we finally settled and started to create opportunities in the attack.  One of our first breaks came when a great diagonal pass from Gary Higgins released Frankie Dumbe down the right side and his efforts gained the team a corner.  From the corner Higgins whipped in a great ball to the far post and Sam Brooks was on hand to guide the ball back across goal where Brandon Tarr was in the right place to nod the ball over the line to make it 1-0.  After the goal Chattanooga looked to react quickly and created a few good opportunities, but failed to really test Rumwald Le Gueve in the Knoxville goal. It was only through a disciplined line and some quality defending led by David Rodriguez that we held the lead into half time.


At half time we felt the need to change to 2 holding midfielders and 1 attacking to close down the space where Chattanooga were causing problems.   The change had the effect we wanted in the second half and we did not allow them to get the ball into feet and turn as they did in the first half.  With it being the first competitive game of the season players began to tire in the second half and a total of 5 changes were made.  All changes had an impact on the result and the standard never dropped which is a testament to the strength of the squad this year.  As the game opened up chances were created at both ends of the field and although Chattanooga dominated possession it was the Chattanooga keeper who was made to work more often.  He made a fine save from a Niall McCabe free kick and in the final minute broke down a promising attack from Martyn Freestone.  It was very much a team effort and there were many standout performances.


For the first game of the season on the road it was a great result.  Although scrappy at times, the fact that we have only been together a few weeks and both created and scored away from home is very positive.  The high standard within the squad is also very positive and there were players who did not start or travel that are more than capable of having an impact this season.  In order to progress in this league you need a quality team and the coaching staff certainly feels we have that.  We now need to build on this result when we play Chattanooga at Regal Stadium next Saturday.