The Chattanooga Football Club will face its toughest road test of the season this weekend with back-to-back games against the New Orleans Jesters and Mississippi Storm.
Chattanooga FC (2-1-1) leads the National Premier Soccer League Southeast Division with seven points, one ahead of the Gulfcoast Texans and Rocket City United. Road wins against New Orleans (1-1-1) tonight and Mississippi (1-0-4) on Sunday afternoon would put CFC in a strong position with four games to play.
Doing so won't be easy, not with about 15 hours between games and a 90-minute drive from New Orleans to Ocean Springs, Miss.
"I understand it," CFC coach Bill Elliott said of the scheduling, which saves CFC from having to make two long road trips to the Gulf. "I didn't like it as a coach, because it's really impossible to be as strong. Back to back like that, you can't do that and be as strong on the Sunday as you are on Saturday."
One of CFC's goals in assembling this season's squad was to build more depth than it had in previous seasons. Players get hurt, local players sometimes can't travel and, like this weekend, sometimes games are played on consecutive days.
This team's depth will be tested this weekend, CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said.
"We hope and feel that we've got the bodies all the way through [the roster] so that the level of play doesn't drop," he said.
For the players, long bus rides are all about staying entertained.
"Maybe we'll get some movies going on," forward Chris Ochieng said. "When we get tired, people will listen to their own music, make fun and just have fun along the way. Hopefully we go there and come back with some wins."
Chattanooga FC will play three of its final four games at Finley Stadium, starting June 15 against the Knoxville Force.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.
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 ...