Undefeated Streak at CHI Memorial in Tact
The Chattanooga Red Wolves opened the 2023 season with a 0-0 draw at home on Saturday against the Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC in front of a crowd of 3,059.
In addition to a slew of new dynamic players on the pitch, the match saw the debut of Chattanooga’s new head coach, Ziggy Korytoski.
Red Wolves goalkeeper Carlos Ávilez held strong against early chances from an aggressive Northern Colorado offense, with several key stops in the opening minutes of the match. The Red Wolves worked to organize an offensive push of their own, exemplified by a near goal from Nico Cardona in the 45th minute, but the half concluded with a score of 0-0.
The Red Wolves Defense remained strong through the beginning of the second half with a definitive focus on creating more offensive opportunities. In addition to stronger offense, the physicality of the match grew as Northern Colorado collected several yellow cards in quick succession: Rob Cornwall, Arthur Rogers (2), and Enock Kwakwa all between the 59th and 66th minutes.
Walter Varela and Christian Enriquez both had solid chances in the 77th and 80th minutes respectively, but were unable to capitalize. Ávilez held strong throughout the second half with key defensive support from Ryley Kraft and Travis Nicklaw. The entry of Moe Espinoza for Varela brought an even more aggressive approach on the offensive side of the ball while the speed of Felipe Liborio, Jr. cut down a number of offensive stretches from Northern Colorado.
Following four minutes of stoppage time, the match remained deadlocked at 0-0 with the Red Wolves defense having staved off Northern Colorado and maintaining an unbeaten streak in home openers for a record of 4-0-2.
On his stellar performance in goal and being named Man of the Match, Ávilez shared, “What a better way to get the season started with a clean sheet.”
Head coach Ziggy Korytoski expressed similar sentiments in his post game interview: “I think he made some big saves, kept us in.” He also credited the strong defensive performance, saying, “I don’t think we gave them too many good looks on goal…so I think it was a good piece of that as well.”
The Red Wolves look to get in the win column next week when they face Central Valley Fuego at home at CHI Memorial Stadium on $2 Beer Night. Tickets are also available for the first round of the Lamar Hunt Open Cup on Wednesday, April 5 as Chattanooga hosts the USL Championship side Birmingham Legion.