Independence Fall Short vs. Richmond

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Charlotte Independence dropped their first match of the season to the Richmond Kickers.

When asked about his thoughts on the match, Head Coach Mike Jeffries explained, “We need to be better in our shape in terms of restarts. We were a little bit better with second balls getting around it, and I thought we did well with possession. We weren’t able to find as many chances as I thought we should. In the final third we were incisive enough and then it’s just mentality, being a little stronger in terms of making sure we’re concentrating the whole game and taking care of ourselves physically.”

The Jacks were first to put a strike on goal in the 4th minute of play. It was #6 Omar Ciss who took the left footed shot from outside of the box and towards the bottom right corner of the net. Richmond’s keeper #1 Akira Fitzgerald came up with the save.
Two minutes later Richmond came down the other end. They attacked up the flank and it was #11 Leonardo Baima’s cross which found the head of #32 Emiliano Terzaghi. Richmond took the early lead.

After a couple dangerous looks in the final third, Charlotte earned a corner kick in the 37th minute. #10 Ayrton Paez stepped up to take the kick. The service flew in to the head of #5 Shalom Dutey who snuck it into the back of the net for the Jacks.

“I think I just have a mentality that I want to win every ball I get inside the box,” stated Dutey. “I have a goal I want to get to, not just with set pieces but defensively how I play and I’m just trying to meet those expectations.”

The match was all square at halftime, Charlotte Independence 1 – Richmond Kickers 1.  Defender #2 Koa Santos, now a key part of the Jacks back line after two starts in the team’s last two games, expressed how he’s starting to build chemistry with the group stating, “It’s good. I’m kind of developing a leadership role and the guys are good. They’re very competitive, they want to win games and that’s the nature here. We have a pretty good group and I’ve been enjoying it.”

The second half started with some momentum in favor of the Jacks. Paez took a strike from distance in the 52nd minute off a set piece forcing Fitzgerald to make a save.

Richmond went on to take the lead in the 55th minute after a cross from the left side of the pitch found #9 Matthew Bentley open on the back post.

A red card in the 69th minute shown to #11 Tresor Mbuyu left the Jacks with 10 men for the final 20 minutes of regulation.

#9 Ivan Luquetta and Ciss looked dangerous in stoppage time after the pair worked in tandem to create multiple opportunities in front of net. It was Ciss who found the space to shoot, but he was blocked by the Kickers defense.

“We’ve got to learn. We know we made mistakes, and we need to learn from them and make sure we add them to our repertoire and be better,” stated Jeffries. “I think we showed good fight at the end in that regard, but we put ourselves in a bad spot. The goals were too easy.”
Final score: Charlotte Independence 1 – Richmond Kickers 2

The Charlotte Independence return for their fourth consecutive home match in April to face the defending USL League One champs, Union Omaha, on Saturday, April 30 at American Legion Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM. Visit our website for tickets: www.charlotteindependence.com/.