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Revolution fall to Chattanooga in conference championship game

Just a little bit short.

Luis Trude scored a goal midway through the second half and goalkeeper Greg Hartley made big, second-half saves as Chattanooga FC defeated the Georgia Revolution 1-0 in the Southeast Conference championship game Friday at the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association.

While the East Division champion Revolution fell to 7-3-1, Chattanooga moves on to the national semifinals of the National Premier Soccer League in San Diego on July 27-29.

The teams were scoreless through the first 74 minutes of the game before Trude broke through. The midfielder made a number of nifty moves and got past several Revolution defenders before beating keeper Zachary Schultze for the game-winner.

Meanwhile, Hartley made the slim lead stand. Less than two minutes after Trude's goal, Kwadwo Poku had a shot off a corner kick that Hartley saved. Then, in a matter of seconds, Clarke Bentley was turned away by Hartley.

Chattanooga could've added to its lead late in the game, but Schultze made a pair of saves and Michael Brooks hit the post with a shot at the 36:55 mark.

The start of the game was delayed one hour because of rain and lightning in the area, then both teams had scoring chances in the opening half. Early on, Brooks had an excellent chance to score the first goal of the night off a Revolution turnover, but his shot was wide from 15 yards. Brooks found John Carrier with a crossing pass, though Carrier was also wide at the 16:15 mark.

The Revolution had their best chance with 5:50 left until halftime. Midfielder Riley Sumpter was dragged down in the penalty kick, resulting in a penalty kick. Bentley took the kick, but was stymied by Hartley as the keeper made a beautiful, diving stop.

Georgia wraps up its second season in the NPSL on Friday when it hosts FC Ljiljan in the Capital Cup at 7:30 p.m.