Chattanooga, Tenn. — There was always the threat that the Men In Black had another amazing rally in them, even down to the last kick in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Saturday.
But a Chattanooga Red Wolves SC goal in the 53rd minute and a saved penalty by its goalkeeper 15 minutes later proved too much in a 1-0 loss that ended FC Tucson’s bid for a comeback for a second match in a row.
Chattanooga’s second-year forward from Scotland, Greg Hurst, scored his third goal of the season just eight minutes after the break to account for the game’s only goal In the inaugural match at CHI Memorial Stadium in Chattanooga.
The Men in Black had the opportunity to negate Hurst’s score when FC Tucson second-half substitute Darryl Longdon was taken down in the box by goalkeeper Alexander Mangels. But Mangels redeemed himself by diving to his right and stopping Josh Coan’s penalty shot in the 68th minute.
Sparked by some speedy runs by Longdon and Shak Adams on opposite sides of the pitch, the Men In Black had a handful of chances down the stretch. The last foray coming seconds before the final whistle when Coan’s cross sailed to the far post and defender A.J. Valenzuela headed it toward goal, only to see it bounce up off the ground and into Mangels’ arms.
FC Tucson’s defense had to deal with Chattanooga’s high-pressing attack throughout much of the match and finally succumbed when Hurst’s right-footed shot from 6 yards after a goalmouth scramble got past a diving Amal Knight. Knight managed six saves in the match.
The Men In Black will finally get a chance to open their home season with a 7:30 p.m. contest against Union Omaha on Saturday, Aug. 8 at Kino North Stadium.