The USL Charlotte Independence played a hard fought game against the Ottawa Fury on Saturday night at the Matthews Sportsplex. The game ended in a draw 1-1 and the Jacks earning a much needed point.
However, the second place Jacks in the Eastern Conference really wanted the win to stay on pace with Louisville City. The conference leaders now have 51 points and Charlotte has 48 points accumulated for the season.
The home team came out on to the field ready to play. The Fury did an excellent job all night frustrating the Jacks and disrupting their rhythm which is extremely important for this team to be successful. The Jacks are not a big team, but they have speed, play well as a unit, have precise passing while controlling the tempo of the majority of their games. Cody Mizell the Jacks goalkeeper has had a solid season in the net making a major contribution to the seasons success along with a outstanding defense led by Captain Bilal Duckett. We also have two great scorers in Enzo Martinez who is tied for the league lead with 16 goals and ageless Jorge Herrera contributing with 12 goals.
In this game the Jacks fell behind early at 11:00 minutes into the contest when Jamar Dixon headed in a Jonathan Barden cross that beat goalkeeper Cody Mizell. This was a second chance opportunity on the play and the Ottawa Fury cashed in for a 1-0 lead.
This game was an uphill battle for Charlotte as they held possession for 65% of the game. They had some opportunities but could not get a goal in the first half. The Jacks finally broke through at 89:00 minutes into the contest in the second half when Austin Yearwood picked out Lewis Hilton for a one touch pass and volley and scored his fourth goal of the season to tie the match at 1-1.
With the game ending in a tie Charlotte is now knocking on the door of clinching their first ever playoff berth in the USL. The Jacks just need one point to guarantee a playoff spot in the postseason.
The Jacks will play the Charleston Battery this Wednesday 9/20 on the road in a game that was postponed on 9/9 due to Hurricane Irma. The first time the teams met Charleston who is currently in third place in the east with 44 points won 2-0 in Charlotte. The Jacks certainly would like to return the favor in Charleston to solidify their second place position extending their lead over the Battery while keeping pace with Louisville.
The Charlotte Independence return home on Friday 9/29 at 7:00 PM at the Sportsplex to play Cincinnati. All local soccer fans should come out to support the hometown team and enjoy professional soccer.