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Decatur FC triumphs over Nashville Rhythm


Decatur FC defeated the reigning WPSL Southeast Conference champion Nashville Rhythm on Saturday night in a 2-0 game that highlighted the team’s strengths in passing and illustrated how strong their season has been. And in front of a home crowd of 1,301, the Black and Gold ended their home games the way they began them: with a win. 

Credit: Sport Shots by Bree

Decatur FC showed no fear in attacking the defending champions.

First Half

Despite Nashville’s physical play, the Black and Gold found their way through the defense via their patented passing game. 16 minutes into the game, it paid off in the form of a goal from Sarah Greiner, who practically passed the ball into the net after Emma Chapman threaded the ball through the defense to find her. It was a classic DFC goal, Greiner’s third of the season, and she celebrated by jumping into her teammates’ arms.  

With under 15 minutes to go in the half, Decatur did it again.

JJ Juarez received a long ball down near the Rhythm’s net. Unable to shoot it, she passed back to a teammate, which set off a long chain of neat, crisp passes through Nashville’s defense. It culminated in Carrie Consolino placing the ball neatly in the top right corner just out of reach of Nashville’s keeper to put Decatur FC up 2-0 — the final home goal of their inaugural season. 

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Second Half

Throughout the second half, Decatur kept pushing, searching for one more goal, and Nashville, stymied by Decatur’s defense, became frustrated. The game became “chippy” as Decatur FC coach Campbell Chapman put it, and three yellow cards were issued: one to each team and one to the Rhythm’s coach. There was plenty of shoving and contact between the teams as Nashville tried desperately to gain an edge over Decatur’s momentum, which continued through much of the half. 

“Compared to most of the teams we’ve played in the past, this was definitely one of our harder games,” defender Njeri Butts said. “We just stayed true to ourselves. We kept being physical, we kept trying to play our game — passing, movement and capitalizing on our chances. And not letting them get to us. Their stance and their top goal scorers — don’t let that get to you and just keep doing what you’re gonna do. “

To the team’s credit, none rose to the bait of the physical way Nashville was exerting its aggravation. The Black and Gold continued to push the pace of the game the way they have for the entire season and took advantage of the chances they had, though they couldn’t put one away. And whenever the Rhythm broke through the solid back line, goalkeepers Kaitlin Sinkler and Isabelle Lee came up with big saves to secure Decatur another shutout. 

“We’re always comfortable in a physical game because we’ve got some players that can handle us,” Chapman said.

Analysis

It was a great win for Decatur to close out the home games of a very successful first season. The team now sits third in the conference and could hypothetically reach the top if they defeat UFA Gunners on Monday. But for now, Decatur’s record-setting home stretch has come to a close in front of its adoring fans.

It’s up to the team if that success grows even more. 

Next Match

Mon., July 1 at UFA Gunners, 7 p.m.

RELATED: It was a wild night for Atlanta soccer at Mercedes-Benz Stadium where Atlanta United beat Toronto FC on a last-second extra-time goal in the most unlikeliest of ways.





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