The USL Charlotte Independence professional soccer club came up with a vital victory over Nashville on Saturday night at the Sportsplex in Matthews. The visitors came into the game with 35 points. The Jacks who really needed a win entered the contest with 29 points. By picking up the victory the home team gained 3 points giving the club 32 points and remaining in playoff contention.
At the 11th minute of the game the Jacks almost scored when Alex Martinez had a great opportunity to put a header into the net. However, the Nashville goalkeeper made a fine save to prevent the goal.
However, in the 25th minute of the first half Je-Vaughn Watson would score the games only goal with a left footed blast off a corner kick from Sam Vines. This goal was Watson’s first career goal as a Charlotte Independence player and could not have come at a better time for the Jacks. Also, the goal gave young rookie Sam Vines a team leading 4th assist which is fantastic as his game awareness has matured throughout the season.
The Jacks have been going through a tough stretch, the injury bug has hit them hard as key players such as Cordell Cato and Donnie Smith have not progressed as expected. The good news is the clubs all-time leading scorer Jorge Herrera is expected to return to the lineup for the huge Richmond Kickers home game next Saturday night at the Sportsplex.
Brandon Miller was the goaltender tonight and played a solid game in goal. The Charlotte native made two critical saves and really helped the team when the defense was beat. Especially, in the 64th minute when Tucker Hume at point blank range was denied by Miller in the second half. Andrew Dykstra took a much needed rest, especially after the outstanding game he had in Pittsburgh and the clubs second half bust in Raleigh. The goalkeepers are a strength of this team and should help in the pursuit of a playoff spot down the stretch.
After the game, during the post game interview coach Mike Jeffries said, “It’s a huge result and win for us. Credit to the guys for the heart they showed and the willingness to fight and battle. It has been a really difficult stretch, so getting a win and shutout is huge to start building in the stretch run.”
The Independence play Wednesday night the 5th in an exhibition game against Santos Luguna, Liga MX champions in Matthews. Then again on Saturday night when the USL Richmond Kickers visit the Sportsplex for an important conference game. A win by the Jacks would be a huge boost for their playoff chances down the stretch.