Memphis 901 FC and the Memphis Tigers played a preseason match in Autozone Park, and it was the last one for professional squad before their season opener.
901 FC prevailed, and the one-score game gave both teams a worthy opponent. 901 head coach Tim Mulqueen said he believed it was a good match for his team, and he did not care whether the opponent is collegiate or not.
"I think no matter who you play it is still a football match," Mulqueen said. "It is a very good opportunity for us, and the city of Memphis to play each other regardless of their level."
The game ended 1-0 in 901's favor and was the only home game of the preseason. Mulqueen has represented the 901 as head coach during the football club's entire existence heading into their second year. The UofM played their expected season starters whereas 901 sent out a mixed group of players from their starting side to their practice reserves.
"I am really pleased with how the team competed," Mulqueen said. "I am really pleased with how they finished a tough five weeks with that performance. Different teams present different challenges."
In the club's second season, the team has completed three official preseason games going 2-1. The 901 opened with a loss to Saint Louis FC 2-1. Then the 901 beat Forward Madison FC 3-1. The only home preseason game was against the Memphis Tigers. The match with the Tigers ended the team's list of preseason matches.
"From this second on, it is 34 games to finish in the top ten," Mulqueen said. "Every decision we make, every training session we have, every moment we are together that is the focus."
Last season, 901 lost 18 of their 34 matches and tied seven times. Nine wins in 34 games landed the 901 in the 15 spot of the total 18 clubs.
Forward Matt Hundley scored the first goal in the game at the 71st minute. The 901 FC held the lead for the remainder of the game. The Tigers showed flashes of fast breaks but could not convert them into goals.
"It felt awesome," Hundley said. "Of course to get on the goal sheet is amazing. I just want to make the team better and everyone around me better."
Memphis lost their first game last season to Tampa Bay Rowdies. However, they won their first home game against Philadelphia Union II. 901 captain Marc Burch said he wanted to see the same thing last year in the home opener, support from the city of Memphis.
"Last year they stuck with us all year even though we went through a really rough patch for the first half of the year," Burch said. "I think this is a team they will be proud of and hopefully we can make them proud."
The 901 FC host their first official season game against Indy Eleven Mar. 7. Indy beat 901 twice last season, both times by a score of 3-0. The home opener will not determine the outcome of the entire season, however it could show a brighter future than the nine-win season last year. The Memphis Tigers are set to play Union University Mar. 5.