Rock Hill (S.C.) — After conceding the game’s first goal, the Charlotte Independence responded in a major way as they scored five unanswered goals to claim three points and a 5-1 win against the New York Red Bulls II at Eagle Field on the campus of Winthrop University Thursday night.
The five tallies ties a franchise record for the Independence.
"It was a great night for us,” said Independence forward Jorge Herrera. “Unfortunately, we gave up the first goal, but at the same time, it was kind of good for us because we kind of woke up and started playing our game. I think it was a night where we had a lot of chances that we were able to capitalize. When you win 5-1, it's a great game. Everybody had a good night and we were a good team night."
Junior Flemmings put New York ahead in the 21st minute, but the Independence made sure that the Red Bulls’ lead wouldn’t hold. In the 38th minute, Enzo Martinez made a nice move along the end line and fired off a shot, which deflected off New York keeper Evan Louro. Jorge Herrera powered home the equalizer and his second goal of the season.
Five minutes later, the Independence took the lead as Herrera took a quick free kick, which Callum Ross headed home for his first career goal.
"The second goal was huge, right before halftime and really just give Jorge credit for that,” said Independence Coach Mike Jeffries. “The finish is great from Callum but Jorge is just so tuned into the game and takes a quick free kick and really caught New York unprepared."
Riding the momentum of the late first-half goal, the Independence racked up three more scores in the second act. Enzo Martinez found the net in the 51st minute after converting his own miss on the counter. In the 82nd minute, David Estrada gave the Jacks the 4-1 lead, and in stoppage time, Jaime Saij scored in his professional debut to put a bow on the victory.
For the game, New York held a slight advantage in possession but the Independence made the most of its time on the ball. The Independence blasted 23 shots for the night — 17 on target — compared to just eight from the Red Bulls.
"I do feel like getting the first goal gave us a bit of a confidence boost and from there I thought the movement up front was excellent,” said Jeffries. “The runs between Jorge, Enzo, David, Alex at times and Joel coming in late, I thought that was really good, really dynamic and causing a lot of trouble. For us to have a game where we force 12 saves is unusual and obviously getting five goals is huge.
“It’s a good confidence building game for us."