Wilmington, NC – Chattanooga FC advances to the third round of U.S. Open Cup following a 6-4 victory over Wilmington Hammerheads FC in a penalty shootout at Legion Stadium on Wednesday night. Chattanooga will host the Atlanta Silverbacks on Wednesday, May 27 at Finley Stadium.
The Hammerheads took a quick opportunity minutes into the first half as Brian Anunga launched a cross to Nick Zimmerman surpassing the reach of Chattanooga goalkeeper Chris Baker. Zimmerman leaped for the header, but was deflected off Chattanooga's Jordan Dunstan to end the play.
Wilmington took the lead in the 35th minute after Christian Bassogog was taken down in the penalty area by Jon Finlay allowing Nick Zimmerman to step up for the penalty kick, sinking the shot into the lower left corner of the net. Chattanooga came back to equalize the score in the second half after Sean Rutter lofted a through ball to the right side of the field finding Samuel Goni who then crossed to Chris Ochieng for the volley and the goal.
The Hammerheads attempted to capitalize in the final minutes of the match on a throw-in by Andrae Campbell as Bassogog hit a left-footed volley off the play in the penalty area that soared just above the crossbar, leaving both teams entering two fifteen minute overtime periods.
Cody Arnoux came into the first period with a left-footed ground ball just wide of the left post, looking to take the Hammerheads above Chattanooga early on. Opportunities seemed almost endless for both clubs. Hammerheads goalkeeper Larry Jackson was forced into a one-on-one against Chattanooga's Luke Winter as he approached into the penalty area on a breakaway. Jackson slid towards Winter as he took the shot and the extension of his arm skimmed the ball just enough to force it wide of the post for a corner kick.
With just seconds remaining in the second overtime period, Wilmington's Ross Tomaselli took a corner kick for the last attempt at a victory before heading into a penalty shootout. Ashani Fairclough leaped for the header on goal, but Baker denied the attempt and tallied the save.
Chattanooga outscored the Hammerheads 5-3 in the penalty shootout, leading to an overall match score of 6-4. Chattanooga will host the Atlanta Silverbacks in the third round of U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, May 27 with home field advantage at Finley Stadium.
Wilmington Hammerheads FC is scheduled to play their next regular season match on Saturday, May 30 on the road against the Charleston Battery at Blackbaud Stadium. For more information, contact (910) 777-2111 or visit www.wilmingtonhammerheads.com.
Wilmington: Ross Tomaselli 31' (Brian Anunga); Stefan Defregger 46' (Troy Cole); Cody Arnoux 61' (Marc Godelman)
Chattanooga: Kenneth Kauker 74' (Samuel Goni); Luke Winter 80' (Chris Ochieng); Leo De Smedt 80' (Jack Hopkins)
WIL: Nick Zimmerman 53'