Game Recaps presented by Wells Fargo
BETHLEHEM, PA (Aug. 7, 2016) — The Charlotte Independence (9-6-6) on Sunday afternoon completed their four-match road trip with a 2-2 draw against Bethlehem Steel FC (6-8-8) at Goodman Stadium. After going down 1-0 in the first half, Charlotte rallied to a 2-1 lead by the 62nd minute. However, the Steel earned a late penalty kick which was converted by Ryan Richter to even the score.
Possession was back and forth in the opening minutes as both back lines were tested early. The Steel were first to break through though, as Seku Conneh got the home team on the board in the 22nd minute. Richter beat Patrick Slogic up the right sideline and played the ball in to the box. Conneh got just enough on the ball to send it past Independence goalkeeper John Berner into the far left corner of the net.
Charlotte had their first opportunity for an equalizer in the 35th minute when the Steel’s Auston Trusty was issued a yellow card. Independence defender Bilal Duckett stepped up to take the shot from 22 yards out but blasted it well over the crossbar. Brian Brown then had back-to-back opportunities in stoppage time, but both shots were easy saves for Steel goalkeeper John McCarthy.
Momentum remained with the Independence to open the second half, as it took less than 30 seconds for Enzo Martinez to even the score. Martinez stole the ball from Trusty with plenty of space in front and beat McCarthy one-on-one.
The go-ahead goal for Charlotte came 15 minutes later. Martinez turned away from his defender on the left side and sent a cross in to Jun Davidson, who was front and center in the box. Davidson made a quick and easy finish, earning his second goal of the season.
Bethlehem responded with a good-spell of possession. Eric Ayuk lofted one to the goal in the 75th minute and Berner had to jump up into traffic to grab the ball, earning himself the Wells Fargo Save of the Game.
The Steel continued pressing and were awarded with a penalty kick in the 88th minute after the officials deemed that Berner brought Cory Burke down in the box. Berner received a yellow card as Richter stepped up to take the kick. He sent the ball sailing into the top right corner, out of the goalkeeper’s reach.
Five minutes of stoppage time was added to the match, giving the Independence one last chance at the win. Aly Hassan, who was received on loan from the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks earlier in the week, got his head on the end of a long cross from the left side, but sent the ball just over the left corner of the net.
The Independence (9-6-6) return home to Ramblewood Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 13, for their third and final meeting with the Wilmington Hammerheads (6-9-6). The first meeting between the teams on May 10 ended in a 1-1 draw at Legion Stadium, then Wilmington earned a 2-1 victory at Ramblewood Stadium on July 9. The Hammerheads are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday, Aug. 6. Kickoff between Charlotte and Wilmington on Aug. 13 is scheduled for 7:00pm ET.