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FC Cincinnati 2 Face First Road Test of the Season against Chattanooga FC

March 22, 2024 - MLS NEXT Pro (MLS NEXT Pro)
FC Cincinnati 2 News Release

FC Cincinnati 2 hit the road for Matchweek 2 of the MLS NEXT Pro season as they take on Chattanooga FC on Saturday, March 23, at Finley Stadium. The two sides will meet for the first time since Chattanooga joined the league ahead of the 2024 season.

The match kicks off at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.


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FC Cincinnati 2 picked up a point against Chicago Fire FC II in the season opener at Scudamore Field at NKU Soccer Stadium on March 17. Amir Daley scored his first goal for the Orange and Blue in his club debut, tying the match at 1-1 in the 74th minute. Chicago would top Cincinnati in the shootout, 5-3.

Chattanooga FC scored two goals in their inaugural MLS NEXT Pro match and picked up two points against Huntsville City FC last Saturday. Taylor Gray and Alex McGrath tallied goals for Chattanooga, but Huntsville's Oliver Wright scored late in the second half to send the match to a shootout. The home side picked up an extra point, winning the shooutout 3-2.


DEBUTS FOR THE ORANGE AND BLUE - Seven players made their FC Cincinnati 2 debut Sunday night. Amir Daley, Alejandro Guido, Peter Mangione, Yair Ramos and Brian Schaefer made starts in the match, while Yeiner Valoyes saw his first minutes off the bench.

FC Cincinnati Academy U17 forward Stefan Chirila made his FCC 2 debut and Connor Stout picked up his third-career start for the Orange and Blue. Nick Samways played nine minutes in the second half for his fourth MLS NEXT Pro appearance.

BUT...MORE OF THE SAME - Jesus Castellano and Ben Stitz, who combined for 45 starts in 49 appearances and 10 goals in 2023, led the attack for the Orange and Blue in the opener. Castellano went the full 90 while Stitz paced the team with four shots and one on target.

BACKLINE REINFORCEMENTS - Gaël Gibert joins the Orange and Blue ahead of Saturday's match after inking an MLS NEXT Pro deal Friday morning. Gibert arrives in Cincinnati following a senior year campaign at Clemson University where he led the Tigers to a National Championship. Gibert will be available for selection Saturday against Chattanooga.


Chattanooga FC are off and running in their first MLS NEXT Pro season. Chattanooga are one of two new independent club's to join the league in 2024 (Carolina Core FC). A draw and shootout win in Matchweek 1 against Huntsville City FC saw the team earn their first league points.

Taylor Gray scored the first MLS NEXT Pro goal for Chattanooga FC. Gray joined Chattanooga for the 2022 National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) season and made 31 league appearances for the club before making the move into MLSNP. With his goal on Saturday, Gray now has 10 career goals for Chattanooga and figures to play a prominent role in attack this season.

Logan Brown and Mehdi Ouamri, two of Chattanooga FC's seven players to debut for the club in the season opener, picked up assists on the night. Brown, a defender, joins Chattanooga FC from the University of Louisville while forward Ouamri arrives from the Croatian second division on a one-year deal.

Goalkeeper Jonathan Burke made five saves in the draw against Huntsville and came up big in the shootout where he made two saves against Huntsville takers. The former Drake Bulldog also started in Chattanooga's First Round U.S. Open Cup match against Miami United FC on Wednesday.

Rod Underwood leads Chattanooga FC from the sideline in what will be the manager's third season with the club. Across all competitions, Underwood has led Chattanooga to a 33-8-17 record (W-L-T).

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