Charlotte Independence win home opener at Sportsplex 4-1

Independence celebrating second goal by Cato Cordell. (Ed Berti)
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For the first time in franchise history the Charlotte Independence won a home opener as the 2018 USL Soccer season kicks-off.  All the home game action will be played at the Matthews Sportsplex this entire season which is another first for the franchise.

Jacks Sam Vines on defense. (Ed Berti)

The Independence routed the Ottawa Fury FC in the second half of this match by scoring 3 goals and controlling the tempo propelling the Jacks into a solid start of this years USL campaign.  Former MLS player and newcomer from Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Cordell Cato started off the scoring at 41:00 minutes giving the Jacks a 1-0 halftime time lead.  The goal came off a corner kick by Donnie Smith who received the assist on the play.

In the second half the Jacks came out of the locker room with some additional momentum and continued to apply offensive pressure on Ottawa.  This pressure led to an opportunity and at 58:00 minutes into the match when Cato tallied his second goal of the night with an assist from teammate Joel Johnson giving the Jacks a 2-0 lead.

Jorge Herrera leading out young fans during opening ceremonies. (Ed Berti)

Then at 65:00 minutes Jose “Sito” Seoane who just entered the game during a substitution quickly scored for Ottawa putting them back into contention trailing only by a 2-1 margin.  However, Jorge Herrera the ageless wonder at 38 continues to play like he is 25 in his prime.  At 79:00 minutes on a penalty kick Jorge scored his first goal of the young season to give the home team a 3-1 advantage.  Suddenly at 83:00 minutes on a breakaway Jorge would score his second goal beating the goalkeeper on an outstanding play giving the Jacks a commanding 4-1 lead and securing the victory.

Jacks players Sam Vines #31 and Greg Jordan # 6 enter field during opening. (Ed Berti)

After the game Head Coach Mike Jeffries praised his team and pointed out individual players who all made a major contribution to the team finally winning a home opener.  The coach continued, ” the young guys played really well tonight, defense was tight, we showed patience on the press, we took advantage of opportunities, and Jorge kept things organized leading by example,” said Jeffries.   “It’s a great feeling and a big step for this franchise to get off to a good start, now we have to continue this success during our home stand and throughout the season,” the coach added.

Jacks scoring goal in second half. (Ed Berti)

The Jacks had 14 shots on goal compared to only 4 by Ottawa, the time of possession favored Ottawa 57% to 43%, the Fury goalkeeper had 4 saves and 1 big save was made by the Jacks goalie Andrew Dykstra.

Jorge Herrera directing traffic on field. (Ed Berti)

The Independence play again next Saturday night at the Matthews Sportsplex against Toronto FC II with all the exciting action starting at 7:00 pm.  Bring out family and friends and enjoy local professional soccer.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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