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Charlotte Independence Clinch Playoff Spot with 5-1 Victory over Charleston Battery

October 16, 2021 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Charlotte Independence News Release

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte Independence clinched a playoff spot for the second consecutive year following a 5-1 victory over Charleston Battery tonight at American Legion Memorial Stadium. Next week, your Jacks are on the road to face Hartford Athletic at Dillon Stadium on Friday, October 22. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM (ET).

Both teams kept possession early as they settled into the match on a cool October evening in the Queen City. In the 12th minute of play, #4 Jake Areman intercepted a pass off the Charleston defense and the counter attack began. Areman played the cross in and found the feet of #56 Sylvain Marveaux. He settled it, took a couple dribbles to separate from his defender and struck the ball into the top right corner of the net. Your Jacks took the lead 1-0.

"Going into it we knew we had to spread them out. They were playing for a win, so they were pressing us all over the field," stated Areman. "For us, keeping composure on the ball, moving the ball, and finding the wide spaces. It worked for me and Joel, and with a great pivot from Brandt and Enzo, we were able to find Sylvain, Irvin, and Dane up top. They were a problem for Charleston's backline the whole night."

The Charlotte Independence earned a free kick in the 24th minute of play which lead to their second goal of the night. Areman took the kick. Charleston Battery Goalkeeper, #28 Paul Lewis, came out to make the save, but it slipped through his hands. It was #29 Dane Kelly who got on the end of it and placed an easy header into the back of the net for his 98th career goal.

In stoppage time, the Charleston Battery scored off a corner kick. The service came in and bounced around the box a couple times before finding the head of #8 Romario Piggott. Despite the goal, your Jacks remained in the lead at halftime by a score of 2-1.

The goals just kept coming for the Independence in the second half, and it all started when Areman drew a foul inside the box to result in a penalty kick during the 61st minute of play. #19 Enzo Martinez stepped up to take the kick and scored, advancing the lead to 3-1.

Another penalty kick came for the Jacks in the 80th minute of play. It was Marveaux who drew the foul this time after a 1v1 attempt with the keeper. Kelly took the kick and scored, his second of the night and 99th of his career.

When asked about closing in on 100 career goals, Kelly explained, "I've thought about it, but getting the win is more important than getting 100 goals. Obviously, it is something I want to achieve, but the most important thing is getting the 3 points."

Just before the final whistle, the Jacks gained possession at the top of the box. #13 Brandt Bronico laid it off to #10 Valentin Sabella. He played the cross in which deflected off a Charleston defender and directly at the feet of #32 Gabriel Obertan. Obertan finished it in the lower left corner of the net for goal number five on the night. Your Jacks secured the 5-1 victory and clinched a spot in the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs.

"It is one step towards our goal. We definitely wanted to be a playoff team," stated Charlotte Independence Head Coach, Mike Jeffries. "We felt all along that we were capable of being a playoff team. It takes the weight of getting the 'X' by your name off of us now. We'll just continue to try and finish the season as strong as we can and get to the best position we can for the playoffs."

NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence are on the road to face Hartford Athletic at Dillon Stadium on Friday, October 22. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM (ET).

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