Matthews (NC) — The Charlotte Independence drew 2-2 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday night at the Sportsplex at Matthews. The Independence’s fourth consecutive draw came via goals by Jorge Herrera and Cordell Cato.
“We blew it," said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "I mean at 2-0 we should’ve closed the game out. It didn’t go our way, but we didn’t manage the game as well as we should have at the end. I’ll take responsibility for that.”
Paced by midfielder Yann Ekra's three shots and 75 percent pass-completion in the first half, the Independence owned a 66-34 percent advantage in possession over the Rowdies. However, neither team was able to break through for a score.
In the 57th minute, Independence forward Jorge Herrera scored his seventh goal of the season when Cordell Cato found the veteran alone in the box. Tied for the highest scoring duo in the USL, Herrera found Cato at the back post to put the Jacks up 2-0 in the 64th minute. The goal puts Cato one goal back of the leauge-most on the season.
"It was a good night to break down a team that was sitting with everyone behind the ball," said Jeffries. "We broke them down, created chances, and found ways to get goals. We've had trouble at times in the situations so that's a real positive. "
The Rowdies responded with a goal by defender Tamika Mkandawire in the 66th minute. Joel Johnson’s second yellow card in the 89th minute forced the Independence to play the remainder of the game with ten men. Rowdies midfielder Dominic Oduro scored the equalizer in the 90th minute in his debut for the club.
"We can take positives out of this, we won 4 games in a row and now tied 4 in a row, so I guess we can turn it around and win 4 more in a row again," said Independence defender Je-Vaughn Watson. "We have a lot of positives, we came out today and scored 2 goals, that's a positive."
In stoppage time, Independence defender Donnie Smith received a straight red for violent conduct. Both Johnson and Smith will miss the Independence's next game this Saturday as the team travels to take on Bethlehem Steel FC at Goodman Stadium.
57': CLT - Jorge Herrera (Cordell Cato)
64’: CLT - Cordell Cato (Jorge Herrera)
66': TBR - Tamika Mkandawire
90’: TBR - Dominic Oduro
44': TBR - Hunter Gorskie (Yellow)
76': Max Lachowecki (Yellow)
86': CLT - Joel Johnson (Yellow)
89': CLT - Joel Johnson (Second Yellow/Red)
90': CLT - Donnie Smith (Red)
CLT - 14
TB - 7
CLT - 2
TB - 1
CLT - 57.4%
TBR - 42.6%