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Charlotte Independence v North Carolina FC: Match Preview

September 18, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Charlotte Independence News Release

CHARLOTTE - The Charlotte Independence face North Carolina FC at Sahlen's Stadium, WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ESPN+. The meeting will be the third matchup this season and the ninth all-time for the USL Championship rivals.

WATCH - Saturday, 7 p.m. ET: Watch CLTvNC live on ESPN+

"As this game is the third time playing them in less than a month, we are both familiar with each other," said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "NCFC is the best possession team in the USL and have a number of very good attacking options and the ability to vary what they do, which is always a challenge."

"We have to be patient, keep our shape defensively, and not get stretched."

The Independence currently sit in second place in the Group G standings after recording three straight wins to start the month of September. Nine different Jacks have tallied a goal or an assist while goalkeeper Brandon Miller ranks first in the USL in saves (50) and forward Dane Kelly ranks second in goals (10).

In their last match, the Independence earned a 3-1 victory against Birmingham Legion FC at BBVA Compass Field on Saturday night. The Independence utilized goals from Dane Kelly and Derek Gebhard and improved its 2020 USL Championship record to 6-3-3. The Jamaican international's brace against Legion FC marked the sixth time in Kelly's career that he has reached double-digit goals in a season, the most of any player in the Championship's history.

For helping the Independence continue their strong run of form, Jake Areman earned a spot on the Week 12 USL Championship Team of the Week after recording one assist and three chances created while completing 29 of 33 passes in the side's win against Legion FC. The midfielder has tallied one goal and two assists in 11 appearances for the Jacks in 2020.

North Carolina FC face the Jacks after coming back from a two-goal deficit at home against Memphis 901 FC on Sunday to earn all three points. Dave Sarachan's side currently sit in third place in the Group G standings, eight points behind the Independence.

"Being able to play through their defensive pressure will be key," continued Jeffries. "We know that they will come in with confidence after coming back from two down against Memphis last weekend."

LAST TIME THEY MET: Charlotte and North Carolina FC most recently met earlier this month on Saturday, Sept. 5 at the Sportsplex at Matthews in Matthews, N.C.

In the eighth meeting of Independence-North Carolina FC in USL Championship play, the Independence claimed its fifth win of the season with a 3-1 triumph over North Carolina FC as forward Dane Kelly recorded a hat trick at the Sportsplex at Matthews.

The Independence surged into a two-goal lead inside the opening 20 minutes at the Sportsplex at Matthews, courtesy of two clinical finishes by Kelly. In the second half, Kelly completed his hat trick in the 79th minute and sealed a second all-time victory over North Carolina FC for the Jacks.

LAST TIME OUT: The Charlotte Independence utilized goals from Dane Kelly and Derek Gebhard to earn a 3-1 victory against Birmingham Legion FC at BBVA Compass Field. The Independence improved its 2020 USL Championship record to 6-3-3 and extended its unbeaten streak to three games.

Kelly began the scoring for the Independence in the first half and Gebhard's goal late in the second frame propelled the Independence to three points. The three goals marked the sixth time the Jacks have scored more than one goal in a match this season.

With the win, the Independence remained in second place in the Group G standings but moved within one point of Legion FC.

SERIES HISTORY (W-L-D)

Independence Record vs. North Carolina FC: (2-5-1)

Independence Home Record vs. North Carolina FC: (2-3-0) Independence Away Record vs. North Carolina FC: (0-2-1)

STATISTICAL SNAPSHOT

CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE

Leading Scorer(s): Dane Kelly (10)

Assist Leader(s): Joel Johnson (3)

Goals Per Game: 1.75

Saves Per Game: 4.16

Goals Against Average: 1.6

Shots on Target Per Game: 4.75

NORTH CAROLINA FC

Leading Scorer(s): Andre Fortune (4)

Assist Leader(s): D.J. Taylor (2)

Goals Per Game: 1.09

Saves Per Game: 2.90

Goals Against Average: 1.6

Shots on Target Per Game: 3.36

2020 CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE USL CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS: Lucas Hatsios, Brandon Miller, Austin Pack

DEFENDERS: Owen Barber, Clay Dimick, Shalom Dutey, Duke Lacroix, Aaron Maund, Dylan Mitchiner, Joel Johnson, Hugh Roberts, Joey Skinner

MIDFIELDERS: Jake Areman, Junior Etou, Derek Gebhard, Kevan George, Luke Haakenson, Rey Ortiz, Valentin Sabella, Oscar Ramsay

FORWARDS: Christian Chaney, Enzo Martinez, Tresor Mbuyu, Dane Kelly, Guido Valada

2020 NORTH CAROLINA FC USL CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS: Alex Tambakis, Paulo Pita, Trace Alphin, Nicholas Holliday

DEFENDERS: Alex Comsia, Sam Brotherton, Malick Mbaye, Conor Donovan, D.J. Taylor, Akeem Ward

MIDFIELDERS: Manny Perez, Pecka, Andre Fortune, Nazmi Albadawi, Ben Speas, Steven Miller, Shane De Leon, Luke Hille

FORWARDS: Marios Lomis, Robert Kristo, Daniele Proch, Hadji Barry

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

- Seven players have scored for the Independence in the 2020 USL Championship: Dane Kelly (10), Luke Haakenson (3), Derek Gebhard, Enzo Martinez (2), Jake Areman, Rey Ortiz, Valentin Sabella (1)

- After reaching double-digit goals this season (10), Kelly has reached double-digit goals in a season for the sixth time in his career, the most of any player in the Championship's history.

- With his hat trick against North Carolina FC, Kelly now holds the record with the most hat tricks in league history (4).

- Nine players have recorded at least one assist for the Independence this year: Joel Johnson (3), Aaron Maund, Areman, Haakenson, (2), Guido Vadala, Gebhard, Kelly, Martinez, Sabella (1)

- Six players have recorded a goal and an assist for the Jacks this season: Areman, Gebhard, Haakenson, Martinez, Kelly, Sabella

- Independence goalkeeper Brandon Miller's 50 saves is ranked first in the USL Championship Eastern Conference this season.

- Against The Miami FC, Miller became only the second goalkeeper to post two outings this season with 8+ saves. Miller recorded eight saves against Miami having previously recorded nine saves against Sporting Kansas City II on March 8 to start the season.

- Miller also became the fifth player in the Championship's history to record 35 regular season shutouts.

- Martinez, Miller, Roberts, and Duke Lacroix are the only players to play all 1,080 minutes for the Jacks this season thus far.


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