ROCK HILL, S.C. — The Charlotte Independence battled back from a one-goal halftime deficit to draw with the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-2 in the team’s final home game at Winthrop University.
Tampa Bay netted the breakthrough goal in the 25th minute from the Rowdies’ leading scorer Georgi Hristov on a converted the penalty. After the halftime break, Independence defender Dennis Castillo headed home his first goal of the season to level score in the 51st minute. Five minutes later, Castillo completed his brace by tracking down a fifty-fifty ball in the box and blasting a shot into left side-netting. Tampa Bay substitute Keith Savage scored in the 83rd minute to draw the score back to level to the final score of 2-2.
“We went against a very talented team and I thought we managed the game well," said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "We pushed the game for the most part and I think we had a little bit of an edge in possession, but we were the team that was a little bit more dangerous for the most part on the night. So it's disappointing to have a lead at the end and end up with a draw."
Both the Rowdies and the Independence played in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night making for short rest Sunday night. As a result, the substitutes were crucial in the final stages.
"You look at the impact guys in the final minutes for both teams and it was really the subs that came on and pushed the tempo of the game,” said Jeffries. “Savage comes on and gets a goal for them. I certainly thought the fresh legs they brought on added to the tempo and allowed them to press a little bit higher up the field."
The Jacks face another quick turnaround as they travel to Louisville City FC this Wednesday, June 7th and continue their road trip to take on Cincinnati FC next Saturday. The Independence will return home on Saturday, June 17th for their first game at the Sportsplex at Matthews. Tickets are now on sale.