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 Charlotte Independence

Jacks Defeat Richmond Kickers on the Road in USL Jägermeister Cup

June 8, 2024 - United Soccer League One (USL1)
Charlotte Independence News Release


RICHMOND, Va. - The Charlotte Independence earned a 0-1 road victory in the USL Jägermeister Cup against the Richmond Kickers on Saturday evening at City Stadium. The Jacks are back at American Legion Memorial Stadium on Friday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC. Purchase tickets at charlotteindependence.com/tickets.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

Both teams played a quiet opening 15 minutes as neither side recorded a shot. #8 Joel Johnson helped keep the score even with a crucial sliding tackle in the penalty area before the Richmond attacker could shoot. The Kickers notched three shots in just a couple plays around the 20-minute mark, but none of them were accurate enough to test goalkeeper #1 Austin Pack.

Play continued to circulate through the midfield for the remainder of the first half. Richmond's other promising attack was halted by another sliding block by an Independence defender, this time by #4 Nick Spielman.

In the only allotted minute of first half stoppage time, Charlotte's #29 J.C. Obregón Jr. scored the game-winning goal. The striker passed the ball to #14 Luis Alvarez who maneuvered through many Richmond defenders in the penalty area before passing the ball across the face of goal to Obregón Jr. unmarked for an easy goal.

Halftime: Richmond Kickers 0, Charlotte Independence 1.

The Jacks were off to a quick start in the second half as Obregón Jr. hit a volley towards goal while turning in the 46th minute, but the goalkeeper deflected it away from the frame. The Roos flipped the field and had a dangerous chance which Pack secured with a close-range diving save.

Charlotte's defense was certainly busy as Pack was forced into another diving save. This time, the ball bounced backwards toward goal, and #17 Clay Dimick made a sliding goal-line save to narrowly keep the ball from crossing the line.

Alvarez and Obregón Jr. continued connecting as the Jacks thought the lead was doubled in the 74th minute, but the offside flag was raised against Obregón Jr.

The second half was an intense battle between the two sides that will play each other three more times this season. Charlotte withstood heavy pressure from the Kickers, including multiple corner kicks in stoppage time and a powerful shot which was blocked by Pack's face.

Fulltime: Richmond Kickers 0, Charlotte Independence 1.

IN THE NUMBERS:

#29 J.C. Obregón Jr. scored his ninth goal of the season in all competitions.

The Independence held 61% possession in the first half yet only recorded one shot which resulted in the game-winning goal.

The Jacks held Richmond without a shot on goal in the first half.

Charlotte recorded its first clean sheet since April 20.

QUOTES:

Head Coach Mike Jeffries

On taking the lead right before halftime

"We played a really solid first half. We were good about possession and moving the ball better than we have been on other days. The goal was a fantastic goal - credit to all the guys involved, of course J.C. and Luis for the skill and the movement to set it up. Obviously it helps us going into halftime with confidence and feeling like it is a game that we can find a way to win."

On closing out the game for the win

"They came out and changed a few things in the second half. They put us under pressure pretty quickly, and I'm proud of the guys for making the adjustments, handling the game, and closing the game out. It was a win for us from that end because they threw everything at us and I thought we did a really good job of closing the game out and limiting the chances they had."

On the defensive effort by the whole team

"Everybody was contributing. We had a lot of blocked shots and a few good desperation plays which enabled us to keep it from getting to Austin. Then, Austin made a huge play at the end of the game and was very solid throughout the game."

#1 Austin Pack

On the whole team's defensive performance

"The team stood strong defensively all night. The back line put in a lot of work blocking shots and winning headers. That resulted in us keeping the clean sheet and earning three points on the road."

#15 Noah Pilato

On facing a tough Richmond defense

"Credit to Richmond for being very compact in their defensive third. I thought we were patient, kept the ball very well, moved them around and then took our chance when it came. It's a credit to our resilience and ability to stick with the game plan when things weren't opening up initially."

On getting a much-needed win

"That was a very gritty win for the boys. It is huge for our confidence because we have been on the wrong side of those close games recently. It's another testament to our resilience to see out a really tough game on the road and earn a huge three points to get us back on track."

NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence host Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on Friday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. at American Legion Memorial Stadium. Purchase tickets at charlotteindependence.com/tickets.


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