CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Independence played to a scoreless draw with Forward Madison FC on Friday, August 5 at American Legion Memorial Stadium. Next week, the Jacks hit the road to face South Georgia Tormenta FC on Saturday, August 13 at 7:30 PM.
“As we get into this part of the season, games will get tighter. I think teams will focus on defensive shape a little more but I think all the games will get harder and tighter,” Head Coach, Mike Jeffries said. “Everybody is fighting for the same thing and it is basically neck-and-neck.”
The match started with a very quick tempo as both teams looked to immediately race into the final third. #11 Tresor Mbuyu provided constant pressure on the left post serving in crosses and searching for a goal.
#2 Koa Santos struck a dangerous free kick around the Flamingo wall and just within reach of the Madison keeper who deflected it out for a Jacks’ corner.
The Independence backline handled all pressure from the Flamingos, featuring multiple clearances from #3 Hector Acosta and #5 Shalom Dutey.
“Our defensive effort has been great over these last few games,” Dutey said. “We’ve gotten to a point where we know what to do and we’re playing in a good structure in the back line.”
It was scoreless at halftime: Charlotte Independence 0 – Forward Madison FC 0.
Defender #17 Clay Dimick was quite active in the attack for the Jacks in the second half and served a threatening cross to #6 Omar Ciss on the back post who earned a corner kick. Only a few minutes later, Mbuyu sprinted down the left side searching for #90 Khori Bennett, but the ball deflected out to #13 Chris Hegardt who fired a shot off a defender’s back.
Another thrilling opportunity for the Independence came in the 89th minute as Ciss shot on a turn which the Madison goalkeeper barely blocked with his fingertips. Ciss had the final chance of the match with a strike launched off the post in stoppage time.
The Jacks fought until the final minute in search of a goal. #10 Ayrton Paez made his return from a lengthy injury as a substitute during the final efforts of the match.
“It was nice to get Paez back in, he’s been out for the better part of three months, so it was nice to get him a few minutes tonight,” Jeffries said. “He’s been sharp in training for the last week and he’s a guy that can unlock defenses when they’re compressed with his clever ideas.”
The match finished in a tie: Charlotte Independence 0 – Forward Madison FC 0.
Ticket proceeds and donations collected at the stadium from tonight’s We Are With Ukraine match will be donated to the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, Charlotte Branch in their efforts to provide resources to medics and caregivers in Ukraine. Forward #18 Illia Shevtsov, from Kherson, Ukraine, received a large ovation from fans as he substituted onto the field.
“I had a lot of pleasure seeing those Ukrainian flags and to talk with fans,” Shevtsov said. “Some of them also escaped war so to talk with them, to see them was good. I’m sad we didn’t win, I wanted to win, our whole team wanted to win but I’m sure they will come to our stadium and see more wins.”
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence will travel to face South Georgia Tormenta FC on Saturday, August 13 at 7:30 PM. Fans can live stream the game on Bahakel Sports.