Jacks lose 1-0 and took 15 shots on the night.
TUCSON, AZ (September 3, 2022) – The Charlotte Independence came up empty at FC Tucson on Saturday night at Kino North Stadium after conceding just one goal. The Jacks return home to American Legion Memorial Stadium on Friday, September 9 for Great Clips Family Soccer Weekend which includes a fireworks show after the match. Tickets are available online at charlotteindependence.com.
“It’s a tough result to take because I think we all agree we created enough chances to win the game,” defender #17 Clay Dimick said. “I’m proud of the response the team showed tonight coming off of Wednesday, it shows we are far from done. We will put things right Friday in front of our fans at home, and we can’t wait.”
After giving up early goals in their two previous matches, the Charlotte Independence needed to be ready to play from the first whistle. Defenders #5 Shalom Dutey and #3 Hector Acosta made big plays in the opening minutes to keep the Jacks in the match.
Charlotte’s attack started to find their stride in the 17th minute with #13 Chris Hegardt on the ball. He drew, and split, three defenders on the dribble. Hegardt’s strike from the top of the box tested the Tucson goalkeeper and forced him to make a diving save.
“We are obviously super disappointed that we could not get the 3 points out here in Tucson,” Hegardt said. “However, I feel that we can hold our heads high because we fought for the whole 90 minutes and played well. Sometimes in soccer the results don’t reflect the way you play. We are all focused on the next game on Friday and will keep working toward our goal of making the playoffs.”
In the 32nd minute, #6 Omar Ciss wound up for a strike from distance. The hit was quality, but it made its way right into the hands of the goalkeeper.
Minutes later, Dimick played a long ball forward to the dashing Hegardt who settled the service at the pk spot. His touch set him up for a back heel which was clobbered up by a Tucson defender and the goalkeeper who was well off his line.
Tucson scored in the 39th minute off a low cross from the wing. It was deflected out a few yards before being retrieved by #14 Fernando Garcia who’s shot rolled passed Charlotte keeper, #30 Adrian Zendejas.
The Jacks had one last opportunity before halftime after Hegardt drew a foul in the 40th minute. #7 Miguel Ibarra stepped up to take the kick. He sent the ball up and over the wall, but the Tucson goalkeeper reached out to make another diving save.
Half: FC Tucson 1 – Charlotte Independence 0
Dutey again came up big for the Jacks’ back line to start the second half. He defended a 1v1 situation inside the box making an important tackle which gave Zendejas the easy save.
Charlotte had a number of opportunities to equalize, and it started in the 59th minute with a cross from Ibarra that was headed away by a Tucson defender and straight to Mbuyu. Mbuyu took the volley first time and sent the shot soaring over the crossbar.
“We couldn’t finish plays, we were pretty good and got into the final third. I thought we created some good chances and were a bit unfortunate that we ran into a keeper that played well and ran into a team that was desperate,” Head Coach Mike Jeffries said. “They fought with everything to hold onto a 1-0 lead and we couldn’t break through.”
In the 71st minute, it was Hegardt on the dribble again. He cut right and laid a pass off to Dimick who took the shot first time, but right into the hands of the Tucson goalkeeper.
Two final chances came in the 90th minute. First it was #10 Ayrton Paez who played a beautiful cross finding the head of Dutey in the box. Dutey’s header was on frame but again stopped by the keeper. Then, it was #16 Tomas Maya with a cross into the box. Mbuyu took it off his chest setting up #18 Illia Shevtsov for the strike, but he was unable to find the back of the net.
Charlotte took 15 shots on the night, but were unable to get the result on the road.
“It’s a tough one, but we have to recover physically and also maintain confidence in front of goal knowing that we can defend and get a clean sheet,” Jeffries said. “I actually thought we defended really well throughout the day.”
Final: FC Tucson 1 – Charlotte Independence 0
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence are back at home this Friday, September 9 for Great Clips Family Soccer Weekend. First kick is set for 7:00 p.m. and tickets are available online at charlotteindependence.com.