Goals scored by #12 Brad Dunwell, #5 Shalom Dutey and #90 Khori Bennett
STATESBORO, G.A. (March 25, 2023) – The Charlotte Independence secured their first win of the 2023 season over South Georgia Tormenta FC on Saturday night at Optim Sports Medicine Field at Tormenta Stadium. The Jacks scored their first three goals, and secured their first three points of the season.
Charlotte is back on the road next Saturday, April 1 for a rematch with the Richmond Kickers. Richmond will host this one after the club’s tied 0-0 during Charlotte’s home opener on March 18. Fans can watch the live stream for free on Bahakel Sports.
“The confidence of winning a game on the road really helps,” Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries said. “It took some time for us to do that last year. So, I think it’s a big plus to get the first road win and know that we can find a way to do it on the road.”
In just his second match in a Charlotte Independence jersey, #12 Brad Dunwell scored the Jacks first goal of the 2023 season. The Independence pressed the Tormenta back line in the 6th minute of play. #6 Omar Ciss won it on defense and a couple quick passes led the ball over to Dunwell who was waiting at the top of the 18-yard-box. He curled a low strike into the bottom left corner of the net to give Charlotte the early lead.
“It feels great to score, but it’s even better to be walking away with 3 points on the road,” Dunwell said.
The Independence earned their first free kick in the 24th minute. #10 Miguel Ibarra sent a quality service into the box, but it was cleared away by Tormenta’s defense.
Minutes later the Jacks earned another free kick. This time it was #56 Gabriel Obertan who stepped up to take the strike. He fired it directly into the wall resulting in an easy clear for Tormenta.
Tormenta started to build momentum later in the half. After a couple shots were blocked by the Charlotte defense, a foul committed in stoppage time led to the tying goal. Tormenta’s #45 Mukwelle Akale hit a strike that went up and over the Independence wall and past goalkeeper #1 Austin Pack.
At the half, South Georgia Tormenta 1 – Charlotte Independence 1.
“We came into the half tied 1-1 and I thought the guys showed a pretty good mentality,” Jeffries said. “We were able to get the goal and then I thought we managed the game pretty well when we had the lead and we closed the game out pretty well.”
The Jacks came out strong in the second half creating a lot of chances in the final third. First, it was an early corner kick crossed into the 6-yard box. The service was cleared away before any Independence players were able to apply pressure.
At the other end, defender #3 Hector Acosta made a sliding tackle to break up a Tormenta attack inside the box.
Minutes later Tormenta defender #23 Preston Kilwien collected his second yellow card resulting in a red and the hosts dropped down to 10 men.
In the 59th minute, the Jacks earned a corner kick which led to their second goal of the match. The service by Ibarra was fumbled by the Tormenta goalkeeper. In the right place at the right time was #5 Shalom Dutey to put it away and give Charlotte the go ahead goal.
“The game was great, it was needed after the way our season ended last year falling short to them in the first round of playoffs,” Dutey said. “I believe in this team and I know we have more in us. We will continue to push for more wins.”
20 minutes later, Pack came off his line to disrupt a Tormenta break away by #17 Elijah Amo.
It wasn’t long before the Independence were back on the attack. Ciss cleared a ball from Charlotte’s defensive half to find an open #8 Joel Johnson sprinting down the wing. Johnson lofted a contested cross to #90 Khori Bennett who headed it up and over the hands of Tormenta’s goalkeeper #1 Pablo Jara to get the brace for the Jacks.
Pack ended the game in stoppage time with two big saves to keep the Independence victorious over 2022 defending USL League One Champions, South Georgia Tormenta FC.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence remain on the road at the Richmond Kickers’ City Stadium on Saturday, April 1st. First kick is set for 6:00 PM. Fans can stream the match for free on Bahakel Sports.