The Red Wolves returned to action at home Saturday night against Union Omaha for the first time this season in a high octane affair. Chattanooga fought back against one goal deficits throughout the match and split the points with Omaha for a final score of 3-3. The two clubs face each other again August 19th in Omaha and back at CHI Memorial Stadium on September 16th.
Chattanooga’s first half featured an offensive increase with Ropapa Mensah starting the match for the second time this season. The opening 45 minutes featured a handful of opportunities for the Red Wolves with a breakaway chance from Mensah in the 18th minute that was cut down by the Omaha defense. While Jérez made many key saves, Omaha found the back of the net first in the 21st minute to take a 1-0 lead. The Red Wolves looked to even the score before the half, but were denied by the Omaha defense on two corner kick attempts.
The second half began with more offensive urgency as the Red Wolves looked to make a comeback. The Red Wolves found the back of the net to tie things up in the 51st minute after Chevone Marsh capitalized on a loose rebound for his first of the season. The tempo increased for the Red Wolves after they looked to build on the momentum, but Omaha applied equally fervent pressure on the Chattanooga defense and ultimately found the back of the net a second time for the go-ahead goal.
The Omaha defense held fast against a barrage of attempts, but the Red Wolves once again evened things up at two goals apiece after Ropapa Mensah headed the ball past the Omaha goalkeeper off of a corner kick from Ryley Kraft. Union Omaha quickly responded to take the lead just a minute later with their third goal of the night. Chattanooga continued to pepper the Omaha goalkeeper and defense with shots into extra time and found their third equalizer off of a corner kick with Tejera heading the ball in for his first of the season. The Red Wolves had a chance to secure the win with a penalty kick for the last play of the match, but Walter Varela was denied by Union Omaha’s goalkeeper resulting in the 3-3 draw.
“I think the comeback is what we’ll take out of this game for sure, and we have a lot of character, and we have a lot of heart so we’ll take that into the next game for sure,” said Alex Tejera after the match.
Head coach Ziggy Korytoski applauded his team’s efforts, coming back three times: “I think some guys really stepped up in the second half, and that was a really good thing for this club,” he shared. “It became such an emotional game; I thought that they found pockets well, and they were much more intelligent in the second half and braver in terms of getting after guys…it just goes to show what this club’s capable of doing.”
The Red Wolves head on the road for their next two matches against Charlotte Independence on May 27th and the Richmond Kickers on June 3rd before returning home against Forward Madison on Wednesday, June 7th for $2.00 Beer Night at CHI Memorial Stadium.