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PREVIEW: Chattanooga FC returns to Finley for top-of-the-table clash

Taylor Gray dribbles the ball against FC Cincinnati 2

Chattanooga FC (1-0-2D, 1SOW, 6 pts - 6th in East, 2nd in Southeast Division) hosts Inter Miami CF II (3-0-1D, 10 pts - 2nd in East, 1st in Southeast Division) in the sides' first-ever encounter on Saturday, April 13th at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Chattanooga Football Club returns to MLS NEXT Pro regular season action after over two weeks off with a scintillating top-of-the-table Southeast Division clash against Inter Miami CF II.

The Boys in Blue remain unbeaten in league play and are preparing to face an in-form Inter Miami II side coming off back-to-back victories over Southeast Division rivals Orlando City B (0-2) and Huntsville City FC (2-1).

Taylor Gray leads CFC with two goals and an assist and is the scorer of the club's first-ever goals, both home and away, in MLS NEXT Pro.

"My mentality each game is, 'If I get one chance, just bury it, if I get two chances, bury them.' That first goal I definitely dedicated to my mom. She came from Maryland to be at the game. Honestly, every goal I score is dedicated to the CFC fans, the support they give me and the confidence I have on the field when I play in front of them."

Forward Mehdi Ouamri has also started to find his stride in the midst of navigating Ramadan and having to be patient for his moment to arrive in Chattanooga.

Underwood's pre-match thoughts

Sporting Director and Head Coach Rod Underwood addressed his side's latest challenge ahead and what the team is expecting and preparing to face on Saturday.

“We feel good about where we are as a team, but we're not satisfied, and all of our players have that mentality," said Underwood.

"Every team has strengths and weaknesses. We want to make sure that we don't get exposed and that what we do makes them change the way they play. We don't want to bend to those pressures where we get exposed ourselves. It's not about zoning in on one particular thing. Our focus is to be dominant in every facet of the game. That's our outlook. We don't worry so much about our weaknesses. It's more about making our strengths so dominant so that our weaknesses have less of an effect. That's really the focus."

Know the Opponent

Inter Miami II's roster is packed with talent. Forward Leonardo Frugis Alonso leads the league with four goals this season, scoring back-to-back braces against NYCFC II and New York Red Bulls II. Expect the club to send a few first-team players to Chattanooga as well. Benjamin Cremaschi, who has a U.S. senior men's national team cap to his name, started the match against Huntsville City last weekend. Ryan Carmichael scored the MLS NEXT Pro Goal of the Week in the victory over Huntsville, while Bryan Destin added his second of the season in the match.

As a team, Inter Miami II is third in the league in both goals scored (10) and assists (8).

The team is coached by former Columbus Crew standout Federico Higuain, older brother of former Napoli and Real Madrid star Gonzalo Higuain.

What to do before the match

The sun is expected to be out on Saturday and there's no better way to enjoy the weather than heading to Finley Stadium early to attend the club's first Block Party of the season, powered by EPB! The Block Party will take place in front of First Horizon Pavilion on Reggie White Boulevard and start at 1:00 p.m. ET. There will be live music featuring indie rock band Saint Social, food trucks, games for the kids, local vendors and special giveaways thanks to Southern Honda Powersports.

The theme of the match is Made Here Night, celebrating the companies and people who make things and design things right here in the Chattanooga area. Made Here Night is presented by Southern Honda Powersports.

Match info

Venue: Finley Stadium | Chattanooga, Tennessee
Kick-off: 5:00 p.m. ET, Saturday April 13
Broadcast: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
Audio stream: CFC on Mixlr

Uniforms for Chattanooga FC vs. Inter Miami CF II


Elvis Osmanovic
Head Referee

Brian Marshall
Assistant Referee 1

Sarah Gaddes
Assistant Referee 2

Promise Adebayo-Ige
4th Official