Independence Tie League-Leaders Richmond Kickers 1-1
CHARLOTTE, NC – The Charlotte Independence played to a 1-1 tie with league-leaders Richmond Kickers on Friday, July 8 at American Legion Memorial Stadium.
“On the balance of the game, we could say it’s fair, but I walked away pretty disappointed,” Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries said. “When you have a 1-0 lead at home, 30 minutes left, you’d like to close out the game and get a win. That’s the difference between the three points and one point.”
It was a very defensive first half in Charlotte from both teams. #17 Clay Dimick was active in the Independence penalty area, clearing away multiple dangerous plays.
The Jacks had a few attacking chances in the first half, beginning with a targeted shot from #11 Tresor Mbuyu which deflected out the backline for a corner kick. #5 Shalom Dutey connected with the cross from #7 Miguel Ibarra, but his effort was saved by the Richmond goalkeeper.
The pressure accelerated at the end of the first half for the Independence with multiple shots resulting from a corner kick. Nevertheless, the Jacks could not land one in the back of the net.
It was tied at halftime: Charlotte Independence 0 – Richmond Kickers 0
“I’ve seen the team grow a lot,” Dutey said. “I think we’ve had a lot of additions to the team and I think the confidence of the team has grown a lot. I think with the new guys on the team, just seeing the way we’ve progressed from a couple of weeks ago, I think it’s made a big difference.”
Mbuyu was fouled on a dribble in the penalty area, allowing Ibarra to step up to the spot and slot home the penalty kick to take the lead in the 65th minute. It was Ibarra’s second goal of the season.
Charlotte led for less than three minutes before Richmond found a tying goal through #91 Owayne Gordon.
“I wish we would have gotten three points,” Ibarra said. “We gave up the goal right away so we weren’t pretty happy about that, but we got a point out of it. So, we’re pretty happy about our performance out there and we just have to keep going.”
Coach Mike Jeffries kept looking for another goal with substitutes #90 Khori Bennett, #9 Ivan Luquetta, #4 Diego Rocha and #16 Tomas Maya, but the Jacks could not break through for a game-winner.
When asked about next week’s trip to Colorado, Jeffries said, “We haven’t had the super-long road trips yet that you have to deal with in this league, so it’ll be interesting. The league itself is so balanced and every team is super competitive.”
Final score: Charlotte Independence 1 – Richmond Kickers 1
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence head west to face Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC on Sunday, July 17 at 9:00 PM ET. Fans can stream all away matches for free through bahakelsports.com.