By Charles Cuttone
SAN DIEGO - July 27, 2012 - A 78th minute goal by Luis Trude was the difference maker for Chattanooga FC, who defeated Bay Area Ambassadors 3-2 in Friday’s second National Premier Soccer League semifinal at Del Norte High School. The win sends Chattanooga through to Sunday’s final against FC Sonic Lehigh Valley.
Chattanooga dominated the game for the first 45 minutes, taking the lead in the 10th. John Carrier made a beautiful run down the right side. As Bay Area goalkeeper Derrick Leslie came out to cut the angle on the right, Andy Stewart made a back post run. Carrier slipped the ball across the mouth of the net and Stewart slammed it home.
Chattanooga took a 2-0 lead at the half hour mark. Stewart served a cross into the area from the right side, and Grant Rardon went up and connected with a header.
Bay Area’s Bryan Walle had a goal called back in the 49th minute because of a handball in the penalty area.
The Ambassadors displayed constant pressure and finally pulled one back in the 69th minute, when Nick Cashmere turned on a ball in the penalty area and sent a shot into the left side netting.
Bay Area continued to press for the equalizer, but were instead stung by a counterattack in the 78th minute. Bay Area’s Juan Cardenas chased the play all the way from midfield, catching up with the ball in the penalty area and making a sliding tackle, but the ball went right to Chattanooga’s Trude. He slipped it inside the near post, but was injured on the play and had to leave the game.
Bay Area cut the lead in the second minute of stoppage time. A corner kick by Jacob Tarlarman was poked in at the right post by Stefan Clemens.
Bay Area had plenty of chances to turn the result around. In the 49th minute, Dylan Murphy sent a header wide. Five minutes later, his shot from the top of the penalty area also went wide.
Their closest call came in the 60th minute, when Yousef Samy’s header in the area was deflected out for a corner kick. Samy made a brilliant run in the 84th minute and slid the ball forward to Juan Cardenas who was making a run, but sent his shot just wide of the far post.
Bay Area Admirals will play the Madison 86ers in Saturday’s third place game at 8pm PT.