Aaron Maund Header Lifts Independence to Crucial 1-0 Win vs. North Carolina FC
CARY - The Charlotte Independence won its seventh game and fourth in a row by defeating North Carolina FC, 1-0, at Sahlen's Stadium, WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The win marked the first time in franchise history that the Jacks claimed all three points on the road against North Carolina FC.
Aaron Maund tallied his first goal of the season for the Jacks and Jake Areman recorded an assist for the second straight game. Goalkeeper Brandon Miller and the Independence backline earned their third shutout of the 2020 USL Championship season.
With the win, the Independence (7-3-3; 24 points), remain in second place in the Group G standings but move within one point of Legion FC with a game in hand (7-3-4; 25 points), followed by North Carolina FC (4-7-1; 13 points) and Memphis 901 FC (2-7-4; 10 points).
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After starting the month of September with a 3-0-0 record and a plus-six goal difference, Independence head coach Mike Jeffries rotated his starting XI and replaced a suspended Joel Johnson with Maund to partner Hugh Roberts. The Jacks' best chance of the first half when Areman gained space on the left and crossed for Dane Kelly inside the penalty area. The forward struck his left footed effort towards goal where it trickled just past the right post.
In the 44th minute, the Jacks were reduced to 10-men as Kelly received a straight red card for his tackle on Akeem Ward. Kelly will now miss the Jacks' next match against Miami FC. Despite the red card, the Independence went into halftime locked 0-0 with North Carolina FC.
After a scoreless first half, Jeffries subbed in Derek Gebhard for Rey Ortiz and the Independence restarted brightly and two minutes into the second half, Gebhard went close to an opening goal with a surge and shot. The substitute shifted into space and dribbled to the edge of the area before attempting a curving hit that whistled the wrong side of the right post.
Moments later, the Independence's breakthrough came in the 51st minute when Maund scored his first goal of the season on a hard-working play in the box where he headed home a cross off of a set piece by Areman. The Independence continued to push and almost got a second goal in the 63rd minute when Luke Haakenson connected with a Gebhard cross with his head but saw his chance go begging.
In the 68th minute, North Carolina FC were also reduced to 10-men as Nazmi Albadawi received his second yellow card of the match. As time ticked down, the Independence would see out the game comfortably to earn its third straight victory over North Carolina FC.
CLEAN SHEET: On the defensive end, Maund, Roberts and Duke Lacroix put in a solid shift behind a relentless defensive midfield effort from Areman, Junior Etou and Clay Dimick to help Miller earn his 36th career regular season shutout of his Championship career.
Next on the Schedule: The Independence returns to the Sportsplex at Matthews on Wednesday, Sept. 23 against Miami FC. The derby will be the second meeting between the two non-Group G opponents this season (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+). The Independence will wear special Military Appreciation jerseys against Miami FC, presented by Famous Toastery. Fans will be able to bid on the players' game-worn, autographed jerseys with a portion of the proceeds going to both American Legion and Operation Wake Surf.
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GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
CLT - Aaron Maund (Jake Areman), 51st minute: Off of a set piece, Jake Areman picked out a pinpoint cross to the middle of the penalty area for an unmarked Aaron Maund. From just outside the top of the six-yard box, the defender coolly headed the ball into the back of the net for the lone goal of the match. CLT 1, NC 0
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
CLT 0 1 1
NC 0 0 0
CLT - Aaron Maund (Jake Areman) 51st minute
CLT: 33-Brandon Miller; 17-Clay Dimick, 3-Hugh Roberts, 18-Aaron Maund, 14-Duke Lacroix, 4-Jake Areman, 7-Rey Ortiz (11-Derek Gebhard, 45'), 15-Luke Haakenson (11-Valentin Sabella, 83'), 21-Junior Etou, 9-Dane Kelly, 19-Enzo Martinez(captain)
Subs Not Used: 1-Austin Pack, 2-Shalom Dutey, 20-Oscar Ramsay,23-Guido Vadala, 90-Christian Chaney
Head Coach: Mike Jeffries
NC: 1-Alex Tambakis; 30-Akeem Ward, 5-Sam Brotherton, 20-Conor Donovan, 27-D.J. Taylor(16-Graham Smith, 86'), 7-Pecka (17-Ben Speas, 77'), 8-Andre Fortune, 10-Nazmi Albadawi(captain), 2-Manny Perez, 92-Hadji Barry (Daniele Proch, 86'), 9-Marios Lomis (11-Robbie Kristo, 70')
Subs Not Used: 24-Paolo Pita, 4-Alex Comsia, 15-Malick Mbaye
Head Coach: Dave Sarachan
Stats Summary CLT/ NC:
Shots: 9 / 13
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 3
Fouls: 6 / 16
Offside: 3 / 0
CLT - Dane Kelly (red card) 44th minute
CLT - Brandon Miller (caution) 45+1 minute
CLT - Enzo Martinez (caution) 45+1 minute
NC - Nazmi Albadawi (caution) 45+2 minute
NC - D.J. Taylor (caution) 50th minute
CLT - Duke Lacroix (caution) 66th minute
NC - Nazmi Albadawi (second caution, red card) 67th minute
NC - Conor Donovan (caution) 69th minute
NC - Andre Fortune (caution) 73rd minute
Referee: Matt Franz
Assistant Referee: Ryan Graves
Assistant Referee: Andrew Charron
Fourth Official: Emma Richard
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