The Charlotte Independence are now 2-2-1 after five games into the season. The Jacks fell short Saturday night against their state rival North Carolina F.C. who controlled the contest in the second half. It was the visitors from Cary, North Carolina who picked up their first United Soccer League victory.
It’s the second consecutive game the Independence were not able to score any goals which is unusual with the offensive attack they possess in Jorge Herrera, Caleb Calvert, Cordell Cato, and Alex Martinez. This team should be scoring goals and applying pressure on their opponents defense. It seems their rhythm is not in sync and this team certainly appears to be missing the talented Enzo Martinez who is now playing well with the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer.
The first half was tightly contested and the Independence certainly dominated the final 30 minutes of the half. However, the Jacks had several good scoring opportunities and just did not take advantage of them. They accumulated a 67 to 33 percent edge in time of possession and came out with no goals. Twice the superb defensive player Joel Johnson found Caleb Calvert inside the box and on both occasions Calvert could not convert smacking a kick high above the goals cross bar off target.
In the second half, North Carolina F.C. Forward Daniel Rios on a rebound fired a shot at the 50th minute to score the games first goal past goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra for a 1-0 lead. Then suddenly on what seemed to be a defensive breakdown after a save by Independence goalkeeper Dykstra, the ball rolled freely after hitting the cross bar in front of the net and was poked in by Marios Lomis at 86:00 minutes to seal the victory. The goal gave the visitors a commanding 2-0 advantage with only 4:00 minutes remaining in regulation. The officials added 5 minutes at the end of regulation, however, the additional time did not change the final outcome.
After the game, Independence Coach Mike Jeffries mentioned the team was not dynamic or consistent enough tonight, “At home in a rivalry game, we just could not get it done.”
The Independence have a week off and will play again on Saturday night April 28th on their home field at the Sportsplex in Matthews against Indy Eleven.