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Independence Crowned Victors of the Queen City

By James Thomas, 05/18/17, 1:15AM EDT


The Charlotte Independence are CLT Derby winners for a second consecutive season.

Charlotte (N.C.) — In the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the Charlotte Independence topped the Charlotte Eagles, 3-2 in comeback fashion on Wednesday night. Spurred on by Enzo Martinez’s brace the Independence champion the Charlotte Derby for a second consecutive season.

The Independence took a 1-0 lead into the half, courtesy of a tenth minute goal by Casey Townsend assisted by Yann Ekra. However, the Eagles would come roaring back in the second half with back-to-back goals by Ryan Williams and Kelvin Omondi in the 61st and 63rd minutes, respectively. As a 72nd minute substitute, Enzo Martinez converted an equalizing penalty kick in the 77th minute, and scored the game-winning goal in the 88th minute.

"We were very sharp at the beginning, [and] get the goal early," said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "We had opportunities to put the game away and we didn't do it. Then Enzo [Martinez] comes on and makes a difference at the end of the game."

Only six times has an Independence player scored two goals in the same game. After tonight’s game, Enzo Martinez is the first player in franchise history to have accomplished the feat twice.

“Luckily, it was me, but it could've been anyone,” said Martinez about his game-winning goal. “Sometimes when the game is simplified like that, things become clear. All we needed was to win. It didn't matter how.”

The Independence will play their next Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game on Wednesday, May 31st in Cary, North Carolina versus North Carolina FC (NCFC). This will be the third matchup in as many years between the two clubs with Charlotte being the away team each time. The all-time series is tied at one win apiece.

"It's always a great game between the two of us," said Jeffries. "We go from the city derby to the state derby and you know everyone is going to be getting after it."

The Independence’s next home game is Sunday, June 4th at Winthrop University, when Charlotte hosts former England National Team and Premier League player, Joe Cole and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Independence move to their brand new home stadium in the Sportsplex at Matthews on Saturday, June 17th. Tickets are on sale here.