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Independence Seek Continued Success Against Riverhounds

By James Thomas, 04/13/17, 4:45PM EDT

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This Saturday, the Charlotte Independence will take on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, an opponent they have never lost against.

Charlotte (N.C.) The Charlotte Independence (0-1-1) face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1-2-1) this Saturday, April 15th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET at Eagle Field on the campus of Winthrop University.

Charlotte enters this week’s matchup on a week of rest, having traveled to Orlando City B and earning an away point. Midfielder Lewis Hilton gave Charlotte a second half lead in the 60th minute, but Orlando’s Albert Dikwa equalized in the 70th minute for the last goal of the match.

“We felt like scoring the first goal and having the lead is something that we want to pride ourselves in being able to protect and hold,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “The way the game played out, a point on the road in Orlando for us, which has been a traditionally tough place for us to play, it's not an awful result.”

The Riverhounds are coming off a mid-week 2-1 home, loss to Saint Louis FC on Wednesday night. Rookie, forward Kay Banjo scored the first goal in the 5th minute for Pittsburgh on a errand clearance by St. Louis goalkeeper, Devala Gorrick. However, Saint Louis netted the final two goals of the game to outlast the Riverhounds.

In the first three games of the season, the Riverhounds offense has been spurred on by forward Corey Hertzog. The Reading, Pennsylvania native recorded a brace versus New York Red Bulls II on Saturday, March 25h and tallied a stoppage time, game-winning goal in Charleston versus the Battery on Saturday, April 8th. Hertzog is tied for the league lead in goals scored (3).

“I do feel like this year they have a number of solid attacking options,” said Jeffries. “Including Hertzog, who was very good last year and has continued to be strong.”  

The 2016 season-series between the two clubs was heavily favored for Charlotte. On aggregate of two games, Charlotte blanked Pittsburgh 7-0. The last time the clubs squared off, Charlotte recorded their fifth clean sheet in a 3-0 home win at Ramblewood Soccer Complex. In the two-year existence of the Independence, the Riverhounds have never beaten the Charlotte side.   

Saturday’s game will be the first a two-game, home-and-away series between Pittsburgh and Charlotte. The second matchup is scheduled for Tuesday, July 4th at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh.