The New Orleans Jesters were looking for their first win Saturday at Pan-American Stadium against Chattanooga FC.
They got it.
With the score tied, reserve Caio Cruz kicked in a shot from the left at the 83:38 mark as the Jesters defeated Chattanooga 3-2.
“I think it’s a great victory. I think it’s well-deserved,” Jesters coach Kenny Farrell said. “They are a very, very good and well-coached side. They came in with a strategy.”
Near the 4:19 mark of the first half, Chattanooga went up 1-0 when Leo De Smedt kicked in a shot from outside the box.
At the 15:21 mark, the Jesters (1-0-1) looked like they were going to score when a shot nearly missed the goal.
As the first half came to a close, so did the Chattanooga lead. At about the 38-minute mark, Chattanooga (1-1-1) drew a yellow card, setting up a penalty kick. New Orleans’s Reece Wilson got the ball in the net for a 1-1 tie.
That tie also didn’t last long, as Thibault Charmey scored near the 42-minute mark to put Chattanooga back up 2-1.
At halftime, both teams had four shots on goal and two saves.
“We adjusted our approach to the game,” Farrell said. “We adjusted our mindset at halftime.”
At the 60:51 mark, New Orleans tied the game again when Keir Hannity headed the ball in to make it 2-2.
Next Saturday, New Orleans travels to play the Atlanta Silverbacks — a higher-level North American Soccer League squad that’s one win away from hosting Real Salt Lake in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Silverbacks will have to defeat Chattanooga on May 28.
“They have a lot more time to train than we do, they’re better prepared,” Farrell said. “It was a really good test for us last week, probably a fair result. I was somewhat disappointed that we didn’t win it because we were at home.”
With last week’s draw with Atlanta and Saturday’s one-goal win over Chattanooga, Farrell predicts more close matches with those squads.
“I think that at the end of the season, Atlanta, (the) Jesters and Chattanooga will definitely be having some very close games as we head to the tournament title,” Farrell said.