Charlotte (N.C.) – The USL’s Eastern Conference second place team, Charlotte Independence (13-6-9) continue their two-game road trip to Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, September 23rd to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies (11-7-8). In what will be the second-ever matchup between the two clubs, the result is sure to have a major impact on the 2017 USL Playoff race.
The Independence will face a tough test when the team visit Tampa Bay due to playing three games and a span of eight days. In a rough night at MUSC Health Stadium, the Independence struggled against third-place Charleston Battery as the home side claimed a 3-0 victory last Wednesday night. Heviel Cordovés scored in the 13th minute and again in the 80th minute to seal the win for Charleston. For the second time this season, the Independence were blanked by the Battery, but will match up with their Southern Derby rivals again in the season finale on Saturday, October 14th at the Sportsplex at Matthews.
Now the Independence sit just one point away from qualifying for the 2017 USL playoffs, next on the Independence’s schedule is their first-ever trip to Al Lang Stadium to take on the fifth-place Tampa Bay Rowdies. In the first matchup this season, the Independence drew with Tampa on the back of a Dennis Castillo brace. The Independence took a 2-1 lead into the waning moments of the game, but Keith Savage beat Charlotte goalkeeper on a header to level the game. The game also marked the final home game for the Independence before moving to the brand new Sportsplex at Matthews.
The Rowdies were last in action on Wednesday, September 6th taking on the Harrisburg City Islanders. The Rowdies rallied a one-goal deficit to grab a lead before the end of the half. However, Ropapa Mensah put in an equalizing goal in the 45th minute for the City Islanders. It wasn’t until the 68th minute when Rowdies’ leading goal scored Georgi Hristov converted a penalty to give Tampa Bay the go ahead goal for good.
With playoff implications on the line, the Independence face the Tampa Bay Rowdies this Saturday, September 23rd with a 7:30 PM kickoff. The The game will be live broadcast on charlotteindependence.com, WCCB’s station Antenna TV (Spectrum channel 1261) and the USL’s Match Center via YouTube. The Independence will return home on Friday, September 29th for the penultimate regular season home game of 2017 versus FC Cincinnati. Ticket for the game are now on sale at charlotteindependence.com.