CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee - The 2021 NISA Legends Cup came to a close in Finley Stadium as over two weeks, DCFC shook off the rust of a long and unforgettable off-season to once again reveal the gold underneath. In the group stage, Chattanooga FC emerged with the highest accumulated points total, the reward being a day of rest to witness Detroit City FC knock out San Diego 1904 FC in the other semi-final matchup.
The start of the game contained some high energy from both sides, with Trevor James' group of eleven displaying confidence as the opening minutes progressed. #10 Cyrus Saydee thrived in midfield as he skated by Chattanooga players and perfectly placed his outlet passes to teammates. The City offensive pressure mounted in the 10th minute as Saydee sent a corner to the far post and an opportunistic #19 Pato Botello. Botello, whose 2 assist and one goal throughout the tourney were all the more impressive given he is so new to the club that there was no time to print his surname on his jersey before Le Rouge departed Detroit - set a header back across the goal, and eventual Golden Ball winner #15 Matt Lewis pounced on it. The Le Rouge defender smashed a half volley past frozen defenders and the CFC goalkeeper, and it rattled in the net.
Ten minutes later, after already showcasing his 1v1 ability, #6 Max Todd was taken down in the Chattanooga FC box for a penalty. Todd calmly slotted his attempt into the top corner of the goal as his left foot put City ahead 2-0, a lead Detroit would take into halftime.
As the second half took shape, CFC gained control of some of the momentum offensively, sending attackers down the wide channels and creating offensive opportunities. Despite the additional pressure, DCFC's sheet remained clean, in part thanks to a standout goal-line clearance from #11 Connor Rutz in the 74th minute.
With time in the second half ticking off, Detroit newcomer and DCFC's Google Fi Man of the Match #21 Maxi Rodriguez shined on both sides of the ball. He was everywhere on defense - he pressured the Chattanooga ball carriers and often blocked their shots at the last second. When the ball was at his feet, Rodriguez was able to circulate possession with his passes, and late on, he drew multiple fouls from frustrated Chattanooga tacklers.
Le Rouge's #20 Yazeed Matthews earned a foul just in front of the box off of a counterattack with the seconds waning down in extra time. In what ended up being the last act of the game, #22 Kevin Venegas sent his free-kick around the defenders and into the net and through the hearts of the CFC faithful, expanding the final scoreline to 3-0.
Postgame, streamers were flying, and the Le Rouge players lined up in the middle of it all to lift their newest hardware.
After the final whistle, GM / Manager Trevor James said of his team's performance on the night, "The boys were marvelous, the effort and commitment. It was great to perform like that and win the trophy."
Up next for Detroit City FC is their NISA Spring Season opener at Keyworth Stadium on May 1 at 7:30 pm.
Match: Detroit City FC vs. Chattanooga FC
Date: April 25, 2021
Competition: NISA Legends Cup
Venue: Finley Stadium - Chattanooga, TN
Kickoff: 8:05 p.m. ET
Weather: 66 degrees, sunny
Lineup: 1-Nathan Steinwascher, 5-Stephen Carrol (Capt.), 15-Matt Lewis, 14-Javi Steinwascher, 2-Kevin Venegas, 21-Maxi Rodriguez, 10-Cyrus Saydee, 11-Connor Rutz, 6-Max Todd, 19-Pato Botello, 20-Yazeed Matthews
Subs: 3-Javan Torre, 7- Roddy Green (‘84), 13-Armando Quezada, 17-Beni Tanyi, 47-Bosh Tanyi, 99-George Chomakov (‘78)
Check out the NISA’s Match Facts here: https://nisasoccer.com/match-center/237/cfc-vs-dcfc