Charlotte (N.C.) — On Saturday, the Charlotte Independence played the Jacksonville Armada to a 2-2 draw in their final preseason game. The Independence finish the preseason with wins over UNC-Chapel Hill men’s soccer and Atlanta United FC, one loss to Columbus SC, and two draws, with the other coming against North Carolina FC.
Charlotte took an early lead in the 34th minute against Jacksonville as team captain, Bilal Duckett cleaned up a rebounded save inside the 18-yard box. Forward, David Spies gave the Independence a one-goal lead immediately after being substituted in the second half. The Armada equalized on a header in the closing stages of the game.
“They played a little bit of a different style which was good for us to go against,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “I did feel like we had the better of them early and had chances to go up before our first goal. I’m a little disappointed that we gave up the lead twice on tying goals, especially on the set piece at the end.”
Coach Jeffries treated the final preseason game as a dress rehearsal for next week’s season opener versus the Charleston Battery at Transamerica Field on the campus of UNC Charlotte. Part of the final tune-up included adjusting the lineup without regular starters Enzo Martinez and Jun Marques-Davidson who will serve their one-game suspensions for red cards in last season’s playoff loss.
Rookie midfielder, Callum Ross is poised to take on a starting role if he is called upon next weekend.
“That’s what I’m hoping for because I’ve been training hard,” said Ross. “I would love to fill that role for Jun in the first game. With today being a dress rehearsal, I was glad to have started and played alright and we’re looking forward to next week.”
In 2016, Charlotte split the season series with Southern Derby rivals Charleston with each team recording a win, loss, and draw. Coach Jeffries has prepared his team for over a month, but says there is always some doubt heading into the season opener.
“I feel like we’ve had a good preseason and we’ve progressed, but I don’t feel like we’re at our 100% best,” said Coach Jeffries. “We’ll be ready.”
Single game tickets are on sale now for the 2017 Independence season opener. For more details please visit www.charlotteindependence.com.