Bennett unable to convert a penalty kick in stoppage time
Lexington, K.Y. (May 13, 2023) – The Charlotte Independence were unable to find the back of the net in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Lexington Sporting Club. The Jacks return home next Sunday, May 21 to face in-state rivals North Carolina FC for the second match of the inaugural Dogwood Derby. Tickets are on sale now at charlotteindependence.com.
“We need to be better creating chances and finishing chances,” Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries said. “We certainly need to be better in transition, especially defensively. I think tonight is frustrating in that we struggled in the first half, but I felt that we made a good push in the second half, but we ended up conceding a goal we didn’t manage well. I thought we showed a little bit of fight at the end, but not enough to get back into it.”
The match was off to a quick start in the 3rd minute when #8 Joel Johnson sent a long ball in to #11 Tresor Mbuyu. Mbuyu took a touch to settle it and sent a low cross toward goal, but it was deflected by the Lexington defender and cleared up field.
In the 15th minute, Lexington SC saw their first look at goal. It came from a shot outside the 18 yard box, however, Independence goalie #1 Austin Pack made a diving save to stop the hosts in their tracks.
The first yellow card of the game was shown to Charlotte’s #5 Shalom Dutey during the 17th minute to give Lexington a free kick from just outside the 18 yard box. The shot sailed over the net to keep the match knotted at 0-0.
In the 22nd minute, the Jack’s first corner kick of the game was taken by Charlotte’s #7 Avionne Flanagan. His corner flew over the heads of the Independence attackers and was cleared away.
#90 Khori Bennet looked to take matters into his own hands in the 24th minute and served up a promising ball, but it was reeled in by the Lexington goalkeeper.
Lexington had another chance in the 30th minute when #2 Tate Robertson found the ball at his feet. Robertson attempted to chip the ball over Pack, but he read it easily and recorded another save on the night, keeping the match tied at 0-0.
With just minutes left in the first half, Charlotte’s #6 Omar Ciss took a shot from distance that missed just high over the net.
At halftime, Lexington Sporting Club 0 – Charlotte Independence 0.
The Jacks came out strong in the second half, taking control of the ball early and often.
In the 50th minute, #10 Miguel Ibarra drove down the left wing and cut it back to Johnson. He took the shot, bending it towards the back post, but it was saved by Lexington’s goalkeeper.
“We have to be ready when the whistle blows the very first minute we have to make sure we are awake and ready to battle,” Ibarra said. “I think the team knows the last couple games we took a while to wake up and it can’t be like that. Offensively, we have to get going. We haven’t scored a goal in a couple games and I feel once we score the first goal the goals will start to come. Now it’s time to move on again to train and focus on the next game.”
Ibarra sent in another great ball to Mbuyu in the 53rd minute. Mbuyu dribbled into the box and took the shot. His shot was saved and deflected right back. He sent a header across the frame to Bennett who found the back of the net, but was called offside. The score remained level, 0-0.
With a good turn at midfield in the 61st minute, Johnson found Ibarra towards the top of the box. His shot was taken from just outside of the box, bending it again towards the back post, but it was another save for Lexington.
In the 65th minute, Lexington defender #57 Tariek Muhammad dribbled across midfield and into the Jacks attacking third. He took a shot from distance which ricocheted off the post and out of play.
Lexington made a substitution bringing on #77 Khalid Balogun. He wound up scoring off a lofted cross into the box. He knocked it down off his chest and placed the shot into the lower right corner of the net. Lexington took the lead, 1-0.
“I feel like this was a tough night,” Jeffries said. “It’s something we’ll learn from and move onto next week.”
#14 Luis Alvarex came on for the Independence late in the half. He drew a foul inside the box in the stoppage time with Lexington’s #5 Kaelon Fox being shown a red card. Bennett stepped up to take the penalty kick. He shot towards the lower left corner, but again the Lexington goalie came up big making the save.
“We are already looking forward to bouncing back in a big rivalry game vs NCFC next weekend,” defender #17 Clay Dimick said. “We are a group who will learn from our mistakes and move forward together.”
Final score, Lexington Sporting Club 1 – Charlotte Independence 0.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence return home next Sunday, May 21. The Jacks host the visiting North Carolina FC at American Legion Memorial Stadium. First kick is set for 2:00 p.m. and tickets are on sale now at charlotteindependence.com.