On Saturday, July 9, the Charlotte Independence faced off against the Wilmington Hammerheads. The Independence came to the Ramblewood Soccer Complex to face their rivals, but were not able to rise up to the challenge.
The match began slowly for both teams, who found it difficult surpass each other’s defense. The Independence was presented with a few goal-scoring chances, but none of these chances materialized into goals. Towards the end of the first ten minutes of the match, Independence forward Caleb Calvert took a shot that was quickly captured by Wilmington Hammerhead goalie John Smits.
Between minutes 16 and 17 midfielders Enzo Martinez, David Estrada, and forward Brian
Brown all narrowly missed the goal with quality shots. The atmosphere became tense when Enzo Martinez was fouled and the referee refused to issue a yellow card; though the Hammerheads soon earned two yellow cards (19th and 25th minutes).
At the half hour mark, the Independence was shocked by a goal from the Hammerheads, but it was soon disqualified due to being offside. As the end of the first half came near, both teams struggled to find scoring opportunities. The Hammerheads soon found theirs 44 minutes into the match, with a goal from forward Casey Townsend.
The Independence did not stay behind, with a last minute goal by midfielder Lewis Hilton. Both teams ended their first half with a 1-1 tie.
The Independence began the second half with less focus than the first. The first ten minutes saw two failed shots at the goal, as well as a corner kick by midfielder Enzo Martinez that was too long. Close to the 60-minute mark, forward Brian Brown kicked a well-aimed ball towards the goal, but Wilmington goalie John Smits saw to it that the ball didn’t reach its intended direction. Wilmington made three more substitutions that proved to work for them, because during the 64th minute, midfielder Austin Martz managed to evade the Independence’s defense and score the goal that won the match for the Hammerheads.
The Independence kept pushing for another goal opportunity, and even substituted David Estrada for midfielder Alex Martinez; who made his first appearance of the season in the Independence. Unfortunately, the Independence were not able to equalize the match, and must now look forward to their next match.
Charlotte Independence head coach Mike Jeffries wasn’t happy with the result.
“Tonight was very frustrating, the amount of 100% sitters that we missed is shocking. You can’t miss your chances. The story of our season is that we are able to push games, but we still make mistakes. We pushed very hard, and I don’t think we should walk away with zero points.”
But Jefferies and the Independence have a plan for moving forward.
“I think the match is just one we have to put behind us. We just had one of those nights where we couldn’t finish chances that are easy. You have those nights when everyone gets a little frustrated or rushes a little bit. I feel like tonight, more so than other nights, we made decent runs we have to look forward now.”
On Wednesday, July 13, the Independence will play an international friendly against Swansea City of the English Premier League (EPL) at the Ramblewood Soccer Complex.