Charlotte (N.C.) — The Charlotte Independence (3-2-2) take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies (6-3-3) at home this Sunday, June 4th at Eagle Field on the campus of Winthrop University. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM ET. Following the Jacks’ elimination from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the team is focusing on picking up points in the league.
The Jacks take on Tampa Bay after facing a 4-1 defeat to North Carolina FC in the U.S. Open Cup, eliminating the Independence from the tournament for a second straight year. Alex Martinez’s converted penalty kick proved to be the only consolation against North Carolina FC. The Independence last played a USL league game in a 3-1 comeback victory away at Orlando City B on Saturday, May 27th. The game saw goals from Enzo Martinez, David Estrada, and Jorge Herrera following an early Orlando goal.
"With the week we have coming up and the week we just had, managing the group and managing the roster physically and mentally is tough to continually play and concentrate and be sharp," said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "We feel like we have a pretty deep squad and a squad of a lot of guys that can play and contribute."
The Independence turn their focus to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Rowdies most recently faced defeat at the hands of Miami FC in the U.S. Open Cup. Having the second-best goal differential in the USL’s Eastern Conference, the Rowdies currently sit second in the USL Eastern Conference table. The Rowdies’ potent attack is lead by Georgi Hristov, who tied for the fourth-most goals in the USL with five goals in 2017. This will be the first-ever matchup between the two clubs as the Rowdies entered the USL this past off-season.
"They come in in a little bit of the same boat we're in, so I think it's going to be one of those games where there'll be a little bit of a tactical component of how they structure and how they play," said Jeffries. "I think it presents a big challenge."
The U.S. Open Cup matchup in Raleigh marked the beginning of a tough stretch of games for the Independence, taking on four games in 11 days. The next three games see the Independence facing the Rowdies, Louisville FC, and FC Cincinnati -- three of the top four teams in the USL’s Eastern Conference. The Jack’s schedule features three of four away games, adding to the difficulty of the quick turnaround, but the Independence will move to their new, home stadium in the Sportsplex at Matthews on Saturday, June 17th.
The Sunday, June 4th game versus the Rowdies will be broadcast on the USL’s Match Center via YouTube with a 7:00 PM ET kickoff.