Goal by #11 Tresor Mbuyu (66’)
KNOXVILLE, T.N. (August 26, 2023) – The Charlotte Independence were forced to settle for a 1-1 tie against One Knoxville SC on Saturday evening at Regal Soccer Stadium after allowing a tying goal from the hosts in the 89th minute. The Jacks will hit the road again to face Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC on Sunday, September 3 at 6:00 p.m. All away matches can be streamed for free with Bahakel Sports.
When asked about the game overall, Head Coach Mike Jeffries said, “We put a lot into the game. I thought we played very well and very disciplined. It was a very good road game. We manufactured a goal, but we also had some very good chances in the second half. We need to close these games out. That was a disappointing way to end the game.”
After most of the first 20 minutes was played in the midfield, #11 Tresor Mbuyu logged the first shot of the game for the Independence after a pass inside the penalty area from #56 Gabriel Obertan near the endline.
The majority of Knoxville’s offense in the first half came in the form of free kicks around the penalty area, but none of the shots brought goalkeeper #1 Austin Pack into action.
“We did very well keeping our shape,” Jeffries explained. “They had a fair amount of possession, but they never really were able to penetrate and cause us trouble. Their couple of chances came off of dead balls. Defensively, we cut off passing lanes and made it difficult for them to break us down.”
Neither team recorded a shot on target, and there were only six shots combined between the two sides in the first half.
Halftime: One Knoxville SC 0, Charlotte Independence 0.
In the 52nd minute, Mbuyu broke away down the left side with one defender to beat and crossed it to #12 Brad Dunwell unmarked in the center of the field, but Dunwell’s shot went directly into the hands of the One Knox goalkeeper.
A corner kick in the 65th minute created chaos in the penalty area, and the Jacks continued to pressure the Knoxville defense and win contested balls. Mbuyu took possession on the right side of the penalty area and played the ball into the center which was deflected into the back of the net by Knoxville defender #55 Gabriel Claudio.
“We came out in the second half and worked hard to close the game out,” Mbuyu commented. “Everyone was doing their job trying to help the team.”
Just four minutes after entering the match as a substitute, #90 Khori Bennett had a breakaway chance of his own, but his shot was saved out the endline by the Knoxville goalkeeper.
With the only shot on target for the hosts, #8 Angelo Kelly-Rosales scored a late equalizer in the 89th minute stemming from a set piece near midfield.
“It was a very tactical game, and the team defended well the whole game,” Pack said. “It was unfortunate to break down in the last few minutes. We feel we could have gotten out of the game with three points but now we have to regroup and prepare for a very important game in Colorado.”
Full time: One Knoxville SC 1, Charlotte Independence 1.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence are on the road again next weekend against Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC. First kick is set for Sunday, September 3 at 6:00 p.m. All away matches can be streamed for free with Bahakel Sports.