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Independence ready for road battle at Richmond

By James Thomas, 06/21/17, 2:30PM EDT


The Charlotte Independence will look to ride the momentum of Saturday's win at the Sportsplex into Richmond.

Charlotte (N.C.) – The Charlotte Independence (4-3-4) look to build on their 2-0 victory last Saturday over the Harrisburg City Islanders as they travel to take on the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 7:00 PM ET. The Jacks will have momentum on their side as they are coming off their first win in their new home in Matthews, N.C. at the SportsPlex.

The atmosphere at Saturday June 17th’s home game against the Harrisburg City Islanders was electric as 2,648 Independence fans packed the SportsPlex at Matthews. Charlotte striker Jorge Herrera scored the opening goal of the stadium in the 13th minute off a free kick, placing it in the bottom right corner of the net. In the 2nd half, Alex Martinez scored the second and final goal of the night for the Charlotte Independence. In the 61st minute, Martinez broke free in the centre of the box and was in the perfect position to score off the rebound from Jorge Herrera’s shot attempt. Goalkeeper Cody Mizell recorded his first clean sheet of the season as the Jacks went on to win 2-0.

“We had good rhythm in our win last week and that has carried over into practice this week,” Head Coach Mike Jeffries said. “The team is  in good spirits and we’re all looking forward to this weekend’s match. We played a solid all-around game in the win over Harrisburg. I particularly liked our effort defensively and that’s what we will try to keep up in our next game.”

Charlotte now has to prepare for the Richmond Kickers, who currently sit 13th in the Eastern Conference standings. Richmond is coming off a 1-1 draw with the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday June 17th. The Kickers are led by forward Alhaji Kamara who has scored a team-high four goals this season. Midfielder Fred Owusu Sekyere is another player to watch out for as he leads the team in assists with three. Both teams will get a week off between games so everyone should be rested and ready to go for Saturday’s match.

“Richmond is a good team,” Jeffries said. “Their movement is good, they have some very creative 1v1 players that can score in transition. Richmond also has a solid, tight defense that doesn’t give up many scoring chances. It’s always difficult to get a win on the road and it’s no different with Richmond. It’s going to be a tough test for us."

The Independence will have midfielder Enzo Martinez back in the lineup after he sat out in last week’s match versus the Harrisburg City Islanders due to receiving a red-card. His return will be beneficial to the team as they currently sit at 9th place in the Eastern Conference, just one spot away from becoming playoff-eligible.

The Saturday June 24th game against the Richmond Kickers will be broadcast on the USL’s Match Center via YouTube with a 7:00 PM ET kickoff.