CHARLOTTE, NC (July 15, 2016) — The Charlotte Independence (7-5-4) on Saturday night conclude a three-match home stand at Ramblewood Stadium with a rematch against New York Red Bulls II (10-1-5). This will be the final meeting between the two clubs this season, unless they should meet in the playoffs.
Charlotte’s 2-0 victory over New York on May 1 remains Red Bulls II’s only loss of the year. The Independence pressured from the very beginning and in the 12th minute, Brian Brown sent a cross from the left side that was intended for Caleb Calvert, but it skipped past the Colorado Rapids loanee to Enzo Martinez, who had space on the right side and was able to finish for a 1-0 lead.
Patrick Slogic extended the visitors’ lead to two in the 33rd minute. The defender got his foot on a loose ball in the box that had been deflected by Gideon Baah and buried the shot. Moments later Martinez nearly earned his second of the night, but keeper Rafael Diaz was able to get a hand on the ball and force it wide. NYRBII’s best opportunity casein the 42nd minute. The Independence turned the ball over, givingBrandon Allen a clean look at the back of the net. Cody Mizell had to make a diving save, then immediately get up and know away the rebound shot from Alex Muyl to preserve the 2-0 advantage.
Since the loss to Charlotte on May 1, Red Bulls II have gone undefeated in 10 straight games, including seven wins. In addition, NYRBII are undefeated on the road, with a record of 6-0-1 away from home. They currently sit second in the Eastern Conference Standings behind Louisville City FC. NYRBII’s most recent result was a 4-2 victory at FC Montreal on July 9. Allen scored three of the four for New York, withJunior Flemmings adding the final tally. The duo continues to pace the NYRBII offense, as Allen has 18 points (8g, 2a) on the season and Flemmings 13 (5g, 3a). Meanwhile, the goalkeeping trio of Ryan Meara, Diaz and Kyle Reynish has allowed just 10 goals in 16 games, the fewest among all USL teams, with a total of 10 shutouts. Meara has had 12 starts to Diaz’ three and Reynish’s one.
The Independence is 2-2-1 in its last five matches. After posting back-to-back victories over the Richmond Kickers and Harrisburg City Islanders, Charlotte settled for a 1-1 road draw with Orlando City B before faltering at home and falling 2-1 to the Wilmington Hammerheads at Ramblewood Stadium on July 9. The Independence outshot the Hammerheads 22-8, with eight shots on goal, but Eric Ati was outstanding in net for the visitors, making seven saves.
In the 10 matches since their first meeting with NYRBII, the Independence has only twice been able to score multiple goals — the 2-2 draw with Toronto FC II on June 4 and the 3-1 victory over Harrisburg on June 25. Despite these struggles in the final third, a solid chemistry has been building between Brown and Lewis Hilton. The duo has combined for three scoring plays in the last three matches. Brown now leads the Independence with 11 points (4g, 3a) while Jorge Herrera and Martinez have 10 each (4g, 2a).
On Saturday Charlotte will look to match the early-season success it had against New York and conclude their home stand on a positive note. The Independence is scheduled to play its next four matches on the road, so building momentum before that stretch is key. Kickoff between Charlotte and New York is scheduled for 7:00pm ET at Ramblewood Stadium