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PREVIEW: Chattanooga FC heads to Huntsville with momentum

Callum Watson dribbles against Inter Miami CF II

Chattanooga FC (2-0-2D, 1SOW, 9 pts - 6th in East, 2nd in Southeast Division) travels to Huntsville City FC (0-2-3D, 3 pts - 14th in East, 6th in Southeast Division) for the second Tennessee River Derby of the season on Saturday, April 20th at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Chattanooga Football Club remains unbeaten after its first four matches in its inaugural season in MLS NEXT Pro and heads to Huntsville coming off a resounding 6-2 victory over Inter Miami II at Finley Stadium last weekend.

The club's historic new chapter began by securing two points against Southeast Division rivals Huntsville City FC at Finley Stadium on March 16th. The Boys in Blue now get set to travel to Huntsville in search of all three points.

Huntsville City are coming off a draw against 10-man Crown Legacy FC at Wicks Family Field last Saturday; Crown Legacy ultimately won the shootout and extra point.

Captain Alex McGrath and Jalen James lead CFC with three goals apiece in MLS NEXT Pro play, while Taylor Gray leads the club with three assists.

James scored his first three professional goals of his career in the dominant win against Inter Miami II last weekend.

Underwood's pre-match thoughts

Sporting Director and Head Coach Rod Underwood talked about the team's development and progression in the early stages of the season.

“For me preseason's really important, so it was a bit challenging this time around with the number of international players we couldn't get in right away due to the visa process. We used the last couple of weeks as a mini-preseason to really ramp up. For me personally as a coach I like to start fast and end fast. For us now it's a gradual climb. We try to evaluate every game and maybe through this first quarter of the season we'll evaluate everything, see where we are, mid-season we'll see where we are, and hopefully peaking at the end. That's where we want to be."

Underwood addressed the keys to victory ahead of the match in Huntsville.

"Huntsville will be difficult. They're a quality side. They really have some good players. Obviously they will be at home in a nice stadium in front of a nice crowd—they get good support—so they have all that in their favor. For us it's about making sure we control emotions within the environment and then we control what we can control. We will play our football. We want to make sure that we come in with a respect for them, but not a fear of them. We respect every team, but we come to play football"

Know the Opponent

Jonathan Bolanos is Huntsville's leading goalscorer after scoring the first hat-trick of the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season in a 4-3 defeat at home to Columbus Crew 2 at the end of March. Bolanos also leads the club with 13 key passes.

Brennan Creek leads Huntsville with three assists, while Maximus Ekk, Adem Sipic and Ollie Wright are consistent attacking threats for Interim Head Coach Christophe Berra's side.

Berra, a former Wolves and Scotland national team defender, took over from Jack Collison, who departed the club earlier in April.

Away Support

The match in Huntsville represents the first opportunity of the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season for CFC fans to travel and support the team on the road all in one day. We can't wait to hear you at Wicks Family Field!

Official Watch Party

Can't make it to Huntsville on Saturday? Not to worry! The official watch party will be hosted by Cheers Collective member Buffalo Wild Wings on 120 Market St.

Match info

Venue: Wicks Family Field | Huntsville, Alabama
Kick-off: 8:00 p.m. ET, Saturday April 20
Broadcast: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
Audio stream: CFC on Mixlr

Uniforms for Huntsville City FC vs. Chattanooga FC (4-20-2024)


Luis Arroyo
Head Referee

Kevin Huet
Assistant Referee 1

Sharon Gingrich
Assistant Referee 2

Andrew Musashe
4th Official