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Independence Drop Rematch With New York Red Bulls II 2-1

By Jillian Fay, 07/16/16, 9:30PM EDT

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Game Recaps presented by Wells Fargo

CHARLOTTE, NC (July 16, 2016) – The Charlotte Independence (7-6-4) lost a 2-1 battle against New York Red Bulls II (11-1-5) on Saturday night at Ramblewood Stadium. Poor weather conditions played a factor, as the game was delayed an hour and fifteen minutes for lightning and storms in the area. A rough pitch and several missed opportunities proved too much for Independence this go-around.

The slick conditions made an impact right away as players took a while to adjust. New York capitalized first, finding the back of the net in the 15th minute of play. It was a cross from Zach Carroll and a header from Stefano Bonomo which put Red Bulls II up 1-0.

Although play was choppy, the Independence did uncover several good looks at goal. In the 21st minute a cross soared into the box from the right side. Brian Brown got on the end of it, but his volley attempt was saved by diving New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara.

Another opportunity came late in extra time as Caleb Calvert found the ball at his feet with an open goal in front of him. His shot missed, just wide, and left the Independence trailing at the half 1-0.

“They put us on our heels a little bit,” said captain Bilal Duckett. “Then kind of towards the middle of the first half we saw the momentum shift in our direction. Dealing with their pressure and specifically skipping out men instead of playing the obvious pass so that we can unlock them, I think that is where we started to see success.”

The chances of the first half led to a shift in momentum for the Independence as they secured a goal in the 48th minute of play. Brown dribbled up the left side, cut the ball back, and served a flighted ball into the box. Jun Marques Davidson was at the top of the six-yard box and placed the ball, with a diving header, past Meara for his first goal as a member of the Independence.

Charlotte’s luck took a turn in the 60th minute when a red card was shown to Brown. The Independence played the remainder of the match a man down. New York was able to react quickly with a goal from Dan Metzger in the 63rd minute off a low shot which skipped through all the Independence defenders and past a diving John Berner.

The Independence fought back with an attempt from Enzo Martinez in the 70th minute and from Joel Johnson in the 72nd minute. But the most promising look at goal in the later stages of the game came in the 83rd minute when Duckett found a cross to the head of Calvert. Meara would save the ball on the goal line, rejecting yet another Independence opportunity.

The high pressure and relentless effort would not be enough as the final score concluded 2-1 in favor of New York.

“As you can see even on a night like tonight we still have a lot of confidence and a lot of belief in how we can play and what we can do,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “I think it’s just a question for us of being in a game where we get that first goal and we’re able to kind of continue pushing the game. I think it’s a good group, it’s a confident group so I think we’ll be okay. We’re pressing to try and win here pretty hard and that adds to the difficulties sometimes. So maybe we’ll have a little bit easier mentality without having to press quite as much.”
The Independence (7-6-4) on Saturday, July 23, will travel to play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (2-9-4). This will be the first meeting between the teams this season. The Riverhounds are coming off a 0-2 loss against the Richmond Kickers earlier this week. The Independence will continue their away game series in the following weeks facing FC Montreal, Charleston Battery and Bethlehem Steel FC.
— Compiled by Ashley Osiecki, Charlotte Independence