Almost everything it tried Saturday worked during the Chattanooga Football Club’s 7-0 exhibition win over the Dalton Allstars.
In front of an announced crowd of 565, Chattanooga FC showed off a variety of offensive weapons. Forward Irvin Espinal had a goal and three assists, and midfielder Ivan Heredia scored two goals.
“We played better than expected,” CFC manager Brian Crossman said. “I’m really pleased.”
Espinal, a former Dalton High School standout, put CFC in front with a volley goal in the 23rd minute. Heredia made it 2-0 a few minutes later.
A CFC player since the club’s first season, Espinal may have made his best play Saturday with a pass to Moises Drumond that led to a 3-0 lead early in the second half. From the left wing, Espinal threaded a pass between the legs of a defender, and Drumond — Soddy-Daisy High School’s coach — flipped the ball into the back of the net.
“We had a lot of fun out there,” Espinal said. “I think we looked good and have a chance to have a really good season.”
Orginally from Honduras, Espinal played at Dalton High with former CFC player Luis Salazar, who suited up for the Allstars on Saturday. Espinal performed well enough for CFC last season that he earned a scholarship to Shorter University in Rome, Ga.
Espinal started taking classes at Shorter this spring and will begin playing for the Hawks next season.
“I’m really thankful for Chattanooga FC, which helped make that possible,” he said.
Chattanooga FC general manager Sean McDaniel said one of the goals of the club is to help players get chances to keep playing, whether college players getting shots at professional soccer or recent high school graduates earning scholarships.
“We want stories like Irvin’s. That’s really what our vision is,” McDaniel said.
The Allstars earned the chance to face Chattanooga FC on Saturday by winning the inaugural CFC Cup on April 23.
The defending champion in the National Premier Soccer League’s Southeast Division, CFC opens its third season this Saturday at home against Jacksonville United.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...