Charlotte (N.C.) – The USL’s Eastern Conference second place team, Charlotte Independence (13-5-9) travel to MUSC Health Stadium to take on their Southern Derby rivals Charleston Battery (12-7-8) on Wednesday, September 20th. Originally scheduled for Saturday, September 9th, the match was postponed due to Hurricane Irma. However, a mid-week, top 3 USL Eastern Conference showdown will prove to be pivotal in the USL’s Eastern Conference playoff race.
Coming off a tight finish, the Independence was able to squeak out a draw versus Ottawa Fury FC last Saturday at the Sportsplex at Matthews. In the 11th minute, Fury forward Jamar Dixon headed in a Jonathan Barden cross. Not until the 89th minute, Austin Yearwood connected with teammate Lewis Hilton on a one-time volley shot beating Ottawa goalkeeper Callum Irving. Although the point wasn’t enough to give Charlotte a playoff berth, the Independence now sit just one point away from punching their ticket to the 2017 USL post season.
Also nearing a playoff spot, the Charleston Battery collected all three points last Saturday in a 1-0 defeat of the Richmond Kickers. In the 37th minute, Charleston forward Romario Williams was shown a red card disadvantaging the home side to 10 men. 14 minutes after being subbed on, Heviel Cordovés scored in the 84th minute, which proved to be the game-winner. The victory halted a two-game losing skid for Charleston.
The Battery now face a Charlotte side which had their season opener ruined on a 2-0 Charleston victory at TransAmerica Field on the campus of UNC Charlotte. 172 days later, the Independence prepare to attain their first win at MUSC Health Stadium in their fifth attempt. In the previous away matches versus Charleston, the Independence have managed two wins and two losses. Barring an appeal, the Battery’s leading goal scorer and USL Golden Boot candidate, Romario Williams will miss Wednesday’s game on a red card suspension issued in last Saturday’s home win versus Richmond.
With playoff implications on the line, the Independence face the Charleston Battery in the first of a two-game Southern Derby. The derby will be completed on Saturday, October 14th at the Sportsplex at Matthews, which is also the final regular season game for both clubs. The Independence and Charleston will kick the match off at 7:00 PM ET at the MUSC Health Stadium. The game will be live broadcast on charlotteindependence.com and the USL’s Match Center via YouTube. The Independence will return home on Friday, September 29th for the penultimate regular season home game of 2017 versus FC Cincinnati. Ticket for the game are now on sale at charlotteindependence.com.