The Charlotte Independence Soccer Club defeated the visiting Richmond Kickers 3-0 to remain in first place in the USL Eastern Conference.
The team played without midfielder Alex Martinez who is on a 4 game suspension by the league. However, this team is deep with good talent and it showed on Saturday night at the Matthews Sportsplex.
With only 3:00 minutes into the match a corner kick by Lewis Hilton was perfectly placed in front of the net and a goal was scored by forward Jamie Siaj to give the home team a quick 1-0 lead.
The teams played aggressively throughout the first half with Charlotte getting a little extra push from their attacking style of play. Due to this factor it forced Richmond into taking two Yellow Cards in the first half as midfielders Lewis Hilton, David Estrada, Callum Ross and Joel Johnson consistently matriculated the ball downfield to the two forwards Enzo Martinez and Jamie Siaj who are always looking for opportunties inside and outside the box.
Meanwhile, the defensive unit of Bilal Duckett, Austin Yearwood, Henry Kalungi and Dennis Castillo played a solid defense allowing only 2 shots on target for the Kickers and 4 blocked shots were saved by goalkeeper Cody Mizell who had an excellent night in the net. Mizell is very active around the net and directs defensive maneuvers along with a staunch group of defenders.
After last weeks first loss at the Sportsplex in Matthews against Toronto, the Jacks were not going to give Richmond any opportunities to come back as they continued to apply pressure in the second half of play.
At 60:00 minutes Enzo Martinez scored his first goal of the evening on a penalty kick to give Charlotte their second goal with a 2-0 lead. This was a big goal getting up by two with 30 minutes remaining in the contest.
The Independence continued to apply pressure on Richmond who ended up with three more Yellow Cards for a total of 5 for the match as they sensed this game was getting away from the Kickers and a high degree of urgency was required.
However, it did take it’s toll because at 90:53 Enzo Martinez hammered his second goal of the night inside the box attacking the net and faking out the goal keeper on a great move to make the score 3-0 and putting this game away for the Jacks. Lewis Hilton earned the assist which was his second on the night.
Charlotte took a total of 13 shots with 6 on target, 5 off target and 2 blocked shots. They had 9 shots from inside the box which clearly shows their attacking style. The Jacks also had 5 corner kicks and one led to their first goal. The team play was brisk and fluid as they had accumulated a total of 478 passes with 83.1% accuracy.
To celebrate the victory the Charlotte Independence put on a great fireworks display for the fans at the end of the game to honor our military members and veterans on Military Appreciation Night.
The Charlotte Independence next home game will be on Saturday September 16th vs. Ottawa Fury at the Sportsplex. Bring out the family to enjoy professional soccer action when the first place Jacks return to their new home stadium in Matthews.