Game Recaps presented by Wells Fargo
Charlotte, N.C. (July 13, 2016) – The Charlotte Independence on Wednesday night played host to EPL club Swansea City AFC at Ramblewood Stadium, falling 4-0 to the visitors in front of a sellout crowd of 4,116 spectators. It was the tale of two halves, as the Independence were able to compete early, while the strength and experience of Swansea proved too great for the team in the later minutes.
The beginning of the match was slow and steady as both teams kept the possession in the middle third. It was not until the 17th minute when the game saw some offensive threats. It began with an Independence shot on goal which was saved by Swansea keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt. The shot lead to back-to-back corner kicks for the Independence, yet no result came of them.
Due to hot temperatures, a water break was administered around the 23rd minute. Three minutes later Oliver McBurnie found the ball at his feet and took a strike from distance, placing the ball just over the fingertips of the diving Independence keeper Cody Mizell. The goal would give Swansea the 1-0 lead with 20 minutes remaining in the half.
The Independence created one final chance in the 45th minute when Brian Brown dribbled his way through multiple defenders and into the six-yard box. His shot was blocked by a sliding Swansea defender. After only a minute of extra time, the half concluded with Swansea City in front 1-0.
“I felt like in the first half the pace of the game was a little bit slower, possibly because of the heat, but we did a good job of creating some pretty good chances,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “We did a decent job of keeping the game in front of us and not giving away chances. I also felt like we didn’t get the tempo up like we needed to. The second half was different, they moved the ball very quickly and moved us around pretty well, and I give them credit for that. It was tough.”
With many substitutions on both sides, the second half drama began almost immediately as Swansea’s Modou Barrow went off on a one-on-one breakaway towards goal. He struck a low shot, but was denied by Mizell, who earned the Wells Fargo Save of the Game for the play.
Swansea began to pick up the tempo and, as a result, Angel Rangel snuck a ball behind the Independence back line and found Wayne Routledge on the back post for the easy tap-in in the 52nd minute.
Routledge’s second goal would come in the 71st minute from a breakaway attack. He took a touch by Mizell and passed the ball into the net, advancing the score to 3 – 0.
The Independence had several opportunistic looks on goal, including a cross from Enzo Martinez in the 74th minute. The ball found the feet ofAsa Kryst, who was unable to create a shot on goal.
The final goal of the game came in the 81st minute as Swansea built an attack from the right side of the field. The cross came in and a short pass from Routledge to Kenji Gorre resulted in a simple one touch finish. The Independence were unable to create any more dangerous opportunities and the game concluded 4-0 in favor of Swansea.
For the Independence players though it was all about the experience. “The most important thing, we wanted to put a show on for the fans,” said Martinez. “I think everyone did well and I think we are very proud. We gained respect but I also think we showcased ourselves.” A younger player, Austin Yearwood, added, “Taking another step up and playing an EPL team, that’s a once in a lifetime experience for me. It’s one for the books, and I’ll remember it forever.”
The Independence (7-5-4) on Saturday, July 16, return to Ramblewood Stadium for a rematch with New York Red Bulls II (10-1-5). The first meeting between these teams at Red Bull Arena on May 1 ended in a 2-0 victory for the Independence. The NYRBII are coming off a 4-2 win over FC Montreal last weekend. Saturday’s home match will be followed by a four-game away series at Pittsburgh Riverhounds, FC Montreal, Charleston Battery and Bethlehem Steel FC.
— Compiled by Ashley Osiecki, Charlotte Independence