By James Nalton.
Rochester, NY, based side Flower City Union has advanced to the Championship final of the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) playoffs.
Union, which finished sixth in the regular season standings, knocked out the regular season champion Chattanooga FC following extra-time and penalty kicks in Sunday night’s semifinal at Finley Stadium, after neither team found the net in 120 minutes.
Saves from goalkeeper Michael Mejia during the game and in the shootout played a key part in the victory, with Alioune Diakhate scoring the winning penalty to send Flower City through.
— NISA Official (@NISALeague) November 6, 2023
Chattanooga failed to score a single spot-kick, twice hitting the frame of the goal, twice thwarted by Mejia, while Union’s Noah Cavanaugh scored the only other penalty in the shootout.
Union will face league runner-up Michigan Stars in the final on November 11, which will be played at Barnado Field at Romeo High School in Michigan.
Union was the lowest-seeded team heading into the playoffs but has defeated Los Angeles Force as well as the much-fancied Chattanooga on the way to the final.
These were the first playoff wins for the team that began play in 2022.
Going into this game, Chattanooga had only lost twice in 24 regular season games, conceding just 12 goals throughout the whole campaign including this scoreless playoff match.
Union, meanwhile, lost more than it won during the regular season, winning eight, drawing three, and losing 13.
Despite that indifferent regular season campaign, it has done enough in the post-season playoffs and now has a chance of winning the Championship thanks to Mejia’s heroics.
— Chattanooga Football Club (@ChattanoogaFC) November 5, 2023
NISA is one of three Division III sanctioned leagues at the designated third tier of professional soccer in the United States, along with USL League One and MLS Next Pro.
Featured image by Flower City Union.