The Red Wolves took on Union Omaha in the final matchup of the 2023 series Saturday night at CHI Memorial Stadium. The Owls won the match 3-2 with Red Wolves goals from Ryley Kraft and Ropapa Mensah. The clubs entered the match with Omaha having won eight straight matches while Chattanooga led the league in points recovered from losing positions (20). The Red Wolves’ sole goal extended their home scoring streak to nine matches.
Chattanooga opened the match with early opportunities from Ryley Kraft with a shot that went just over the crossbar and a free kick from Aarón Lombardi that was stopped by the Omaha keeper. The Red Wolves continued to press aggressively through the opening 15 minutes of the match; however, the Owls would get on the board first in the 18th minute with a goal from Steevan Dos Santos. The action continued through the midfield with Omaha breaking through a second time to extend their lead to two goals in the 33rd minute.
The Red Wolves cut the lead in half just five minutes later as Ryley Kraft blasted the ball past the Omaha goalkeeper for his second of the year. As the first 45 minutes wound down, Omaha managed a third goal to push their lead back to two just before halftime.
Kraft looked for his second of the night in the opening minutes of the second half with another set piece that hit just outside the right post while a free kick from Lombardi minutes later was on target but absorbed by the Omaha goalkeeper. The Owls would take a man advantage in the 57th minute as Red Wolves defender Manuel Madrid was issued a red card.
Chattanooga looked to get back in the match despite being a man down, bringing on Moe Espinoza for Alex Tejera and Marios Lomis for Jonny Filipe to reignite the Red Wolves offense. As the match headed toward stoppage time, Ropapa Mensah scored his ninth of the season to cut the Owls’ lead to one goal. The Red Wolves fought to find an equalizer, but couldn’t come up with a third goal to split points.
The Red Wolves will next head on the road to face Lexington and are set to return to CHI Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 30th against Central Valley Fuego FC.