The better side for most of the contest, the House grabbed the goal they arguably deserved right before the break thanks to a first-time finish from Ian Cerro. It wasn’t the most thrilling game, to be fair, but that won’t matter to the hosts as they secured the win, a clean sheet, and all three points.
Story of the match
The first chance of the contest was created by Chicago. A dream cross from Matteo Kidd found Derek Huffman at the far post, and he cleverly headed the ball back across goal. However, he couldn’t pick anyone out with the attempt, and no one was able to finish off the move as a result.
Chattanooga thought they had opened the scoring when Daniel Jackson poked home a loose ball from close range. However, the goal would not stand, as the referee ultimately called a foul due to a player colliding with the goalkeeper.
The hosts started to cook a bit going forward, and they were carving out opportunities as a result. Some solid passing play led to a first-time volley from Louis Bennett, and even though he hit it cleanly, the effort was too central, so the goalkeeper was able to make a relatively simple save.
A counter attack from Chattanooga seemed threatening at first, but Brian Bement bottled it, as he hit a shot miles off target.
Just as it seemed like the half was going to end scoreless, the House jumped in front. The move started when Kidd played Huffman into space out wide, and he did well to hold the ball up a bit. Then he was able to pick out the final pass, as his low cross was redirected into the back of the net by Ian Cerro. It was a quality finish considering how fast the ball came his way, and it was the midfielder’s second goal in as many home matches.
Chicago started the second half on the front foot, and they nearly doubled their advantage in spectacular fashion. John Requejo Jr sat a man down before laying the ball off to Kidd, who cut inside and went for a curling effort. It came close, but the ball ultimately flew just wide of the target.
Oddly enough, the rest of the half was remarkably uneventful. There were some half-chances and potential moments of promise, but neither side really did enough to threaten the other. As a result, the House held on to the win with relative comfort.
It was nice to see Ian Cerro given the captain’s armband. With Drew Conner out injured and Wojciech Wójcik on the bench, head coach C.J. Brown decided to turn to Cerro despite him being a relative newcomer to the squad. It was a recognition of how good the player has been as of late, and it probably won't be the last time fans see Cerro leading the team considering he scored on the night.
When Chicago utilizes a 4-2-3-1, it seems like an overload of vibes. Sure, Matteo Kidd, Nazeem Bartman, and Ian Cerro are all quality, but they all sometimes do a bit too much. Things become complicated quickly, and it doesn’t really work out. Luckily Derek Huffman is an old-school sort of center forward, so he brings some balance to the attack.
There’s a clear difference between the House at home and the House on the road. When they’re at SeatGeek Stadium, a professional soccer-specific stadium, they just play better. Their passing is crisper, and they look like they have more ideas in the final third. When they’re playing in high school stadiums, though, they come across as dull and lifeless. The duality of man strikes once again.
Chattanooga plays almost exactly the way you’d expect a team from Chattanooga to play. There’s just nothing really there. If you know, you know.
Man of the match - Ian Cerro
No one on Chicago really stood out since everyone did pretty well, but Ian Cerro will get the nod here since he did score the only goal of the game.
The captain on the night made the most of his newfound responsibility, as he put in another stellar shift. A presence in the final third, he was constantly on the ball, creating for himself and his teammates.
Cerro didn’t have to do much when it came to the goal, but he did enough, making a smart run into the box before finishing off the move with a pretty tough finish.
That proved to be the difference on the night. The midfielder has been a revelation ever since coming to the House, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.