The Charlotte Independence on the road took on the second place Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium. This was an important away game for the home team to come out with at minimum a point and their goal was to get a win for a huge three points in the Eastern Conference standings.
However, the teams goal became much more difficult when in the 58th minute, midfielder Greg Jordan received his second yellow card of the contest, leaving the Jacks only able to play with 10 players on the field for the remainder of the match. Therefore, Pittsburgh had a one man advantage for most of the game.
Jacks excellent goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra had to step up and he certainly played an outstanding game in the net. He had three huge saves to keep the Riverhounds from scoring. Dykstra frustrated and stymied the Pittsburgh offense all night while the defense also stepped up their game to make a significant contribution.
The Independence had their best chance of scoring when rookie Jake Areman on a breakaway got separation from the Pittsburgh defenders, he took a shot that just went inches wide of the net for what looked like a sure goal.
The defense withstood an onslaught in the second half from the Riverhounds with 16 crosses and six shots to give the Independence their fifth shutout of the season in a key match keeping the Jacks in contention for a playoff spot.
Meanwhile, franchise player and team leading goal scorer Jorge Herrera was subbed off the field for an apparent injury which could have a major impact on the Jacks. We will need to learn more about the extent of the injury this week.
The Independence will return home on Wednesday August 22nd when Louisville City FC visits the Sportsplex at Matthews for a 7:30 pm kickoff.
This game will be dedicated to Carolina Rapids youth player McKenna Woodhead, who was recently paralyzed in a watersport accident, the Charlotte Soccer community will donate all ticket sales from the game to the McKenna family for assistance in her recovery. Therefore, come out to the game to show your support for the Charlotte Independence and McKenna.