Photo Credit: Adam Lutz
Rock Hill (S.C.) — The Charlotte Independence and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds fought to a 1-1 draw Saturday evening at Eagle Field on the campus of Winthrop University. Riverhounds forward, Kay Banjo scored in the second minute off a tight angle, but Independence forward Jorge Herrera equalized on a penalty kick just four minutes later.
The Riverhounds kickstarted the match with a goal in the second minute as Kay Banjo made a run down the right side and blasted home a shot into the top left corner. Defender Joe Greenspan, a former member of the Independence, was credited with the assist on the play.
But the Pittsburgh lead didn’t sit long as David Spies drew a penalty in the sixth minute and Jorge Herrera calmly split the middle of the goal from the spot.
"Give Jorge credit, he took the penalty very well and he's very composed in those situations,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “I thought he helped link the attack and his movement and his ability belie his age a little bit. It's a joy to have him and so forth and he's just a competitive player day-in and day-out.”
After the wild start, the match settled in and though neither team found the back of the net again on the night, there was no shortage of chances. The Independence controlled possession for much of the night, finishing the game with a 70-30 advantage, and racked up nine shots, three on target.
Casey Townsend came on for Herrera in the 55th and nearly pushed the Independence in front with a headed effort in his first minute on the field. Pittsburgh keeper Trey Mitchell forced the shot just over the bar for a corner that also ended in a near miss as the ball bounced around and ended up on the wrong side of the netting.
Jeffries made another key switch in the 79th minute as he brought on 2016 USL MVP finalist Enzo Martinez for his first action of 2017. The midfielder complete more than 80 percent of his passes and sent in a pair of dangerous corners in the closing minutes of the contest.
"Enzo is a spark, there is zero question,” said Jeffries. “The energy level of the group picked up when he got on the field. We were a little bit more dangerous, he was a real plus when he came in. Obviously, he's working back from the ankle injury so it's a slow process but it was great to see him on the field and see him back to himself."
The Independence (0-1-2) will look to snag the first win of the season next Saturday, April 22nd when they travel to Toyota Stadium to take on Saint Louis FC.