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Match Preview: Carolina Core FC face fellow Independent MLS NEXT Pro side Chattanooga FC on Matchday 7


Match Information:

MLS NEXT Pro: Matchday 7

Date: Saturday, April 27, 2024

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

Location: Finley Stadium (Chattanooga, Tennessee)


Match-specific hashtag: CCFCvCFC

Instagram: @carolinacore_fc

Instagram: @chattanoogafc

Carolina Core FC record: 0-3-1 (2 points – 15th in East)

Chattanooga FC record: 3-1-2 (12 points – 3rd in East)

Carolina Core FC continues its inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season on the road Saturday, April 27th, against Chattanooga FC. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Finley Stadium, with a live stream available on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. Tickets are available for the match at Finley Stadium, here.

Fans can also follow @CarolinaCore_FC on X for live updates throughout the match.

Carolina Core FC is entering the game following a 2-1 loss to Chicago Fire FC II on Matchday 6 of MLS NEXT Pro.

The Foxes conceded in the 14th minute with a goal scored by Chicago Fire FC II midfielder Javier Casas, who slotted home a right-footed shot to the left side of the goal after receiving the ball from midfielder David Tchetchao.

CCFC then conceded a penalty just before halftime, which was put away by Fire II midfielder Harold Osorio.

CCFC would greatly improve in the second half, recording the majority of their 14 shots after the break. The team would go on to record four shots on target and three additional corner kicks in the second half.

Their attacking efforts paid off in the 76th minute of the match when CCFC midfield maestro Jacob Evans scored his first goal of the season. After a giveaway from CFFC II in their defensive third, Evans intercepted the ball and hit a right-footed strike from outside the box to the top left corner of the goal. Evans’ goal gave the Foxes life in the game, bringing the scoreline to 2-1 on the night.

The team would have more chances as the half went on. Former FC Barcelona U19 forward Derek Cuevas would win a corner kick for the Core in the dying embers of the match, however the equalizer wouldn’t come.

The game against Chicago would see an MLS NEXT Pro debut for goalkeeper and club captain Andrew Pannenberg. In his league debut, Pannenberg made three total saves, helping to keep CCFC in the game with an opportunity at the end. Pannenberg made his first appearance for the club in the U.S. Open Cup, in a 2-1 comeback victory over USL League 2 opponent Vermont Green FC.

In Wednesday’s match, Sporting KC loanee, Ozzie Cisneros made his first appearance for Carolina Core FC. The midfielder entered the match in the 72nd minute and had a large role in helping to get CCFC back into the match. On the night, Ozzie completed 100% of the passes he attempted.

Signed by CCFC last week, Cisneros’ 2023 campaign saw the midfielder hit career-highs in appearances (26), goals (3), and assists (2) for a Sporting KC II outfit that reached the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs.

Chattanooga FC

After 15 seasons of playing in the NISA and the NPSL, Chattanooga FC joined MLS NEXT Pro as one of two independent clubs in the league.

The team is led by veteran coach Rod Underwood in his third year at the helm, boasting more than a decade of managerial experience. Most recently, Rod has coached NISA side Stumptown AC and Montego Bay United F.C. in the Jamaican Premier League.

With 3 wins, 1 loss, 2 draws and a shootout victory, the club currently sit in 3rd position in the Eastern Conference standings with 12 points. Chattanooga look to make the playoffs in their first season as an MLS NEXT Pro side.

Chattanooga FC enters the game on the back of a 1-0 loss to Southeast Division rivals Atlanta United 2. This was the club’s first defeat of the year. CFC trailed for the first time this season in the 20th minute of the match, when ATL United 2 midfielder Javier Armas converted a spot-kick. ATL United 2 was awarded a penalty after a handball by Chattanooga FC defender Farid Sar-Sar.

With 13 goals in 6 matches, Chattanooga FC boasts one of the most potent attacking lines in the Eastern Conference at the moment. Midfielder Alex McGarth is leading the team with four goals so far this season. CFC forward Jalen James has also contributed three goals, with forwards Jesus Ibarra and Taylor Gray sitting on two goals respectively.

Carolina Core FC and Chattanooga FC kick off at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. Slated as the Battle of Independent Teams, this will be the first time these two sides meet one another.

Fans can stream the match live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV or come out to Finley Stadium to support Carolina Core FC away from home.