The Chattanooga Red Wolves traveled to Windsor, CO to take on Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC on Saturday, October 14th for their final game of the 2023 season. Previous meetings between these two teams ended in 0-0 and 1-1 draws in Chattanooga, leading both teams to clamor for the series win; Northern Colorado would claim the series with a 3-1 victory over the Red Wolves with a second half goal from Ropapa Mensah for his 12th goal of the year to tie Chevone Marsh as the Red Wolves leading goal scorer this season.
The Red Wolves started off the match with a high press, but after Northern Colorado found their footing, the Hailstorm would go on to outshoot the Red Wolves 10 to five by the end of the first half. Jonny Filipe had a deep cross into the box from a free kick in the eighth minute that was scooped up by the Hailstorm goalkeeper followed by a dangerous shot in the 20th minute that bounced off the crossbar.
Northern Colorado had a close chance on goal in the 16th minute; however, it was called offside after the Red Wolves defense held a high line. The home side found the first goal of the match in the 22nd minute scored by Mark Hernández. The Red Wolves continued their search for an equalizer but would concede their second goal of the match in the 42nd minute as Bruno Rendón finished the ball into the net after a low cross from Trevor Amann. Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC would take the 2-0 lead heading into half time.
The Red Wolves cut the deficit in half in the 63rd minute after Filipe passed to Mensah to finish it off and bring the score to 2-1 for Filipe’s fourth straight contest having contributed to goals. Northern Colorado made a double substitution in the 64th minute and 74th minutes of the match while Red Wolves midfielder Yahir Paez came on for Chevone Marsh in the 78th minute of the match to boost the attacking front for the Red Wolves.
Goalkeeper Carlos Avilez had his best save of the match in the 81st minute to tip the ball just over the crossbar after a Hailstorm free kick. On the other end of the ball, Paez nearly found the equalizing goal, but his header went just over the bar. The Red Wolves made their final substitution of the match as Alex Tejera came on for Filipe in the 87th minute for a final offensive push; however Northern Colorado’s Irvin Parra would make it 3-1 in the 90+3’ minute to close out the game in stoppage time.
The Chattanooga Red Wolves return to USL League One play in 2024 and will look to carry the positive momentum they have gained under newly named head coach Scott Mackenzie into the new season.