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 Charlotte Independence

Jacks Tie Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC, 2-2, in USL Jägermeister Cup

May 25, 2024 - United Soccer League One (USL1)
Charlotte Independence News Release

WINDSOR, Colo. - The Charlotte Independence tied Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC, 2-2, and fell in the USL Jägermeister Cup penalty shootout, 4-2, on Saturday evening. The Jacks are back at American Legion Memorial Stadium on Saturday, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. against South Georgia Tormenta FC. Purchase tickets at


Goalkeeper #1 Austin Pack was called into action early in the match, saving a powerful shot by the Hailstorm aimed towards the top right corner of the goal in the fourth minute.

A lucky deflection gave Northern Colorado the lead in the 14th minute. Pack made a quick diving save which was followed by a block by #13 Anton Sorenson. Pack then made another save, and #17 Clay Dimick slid inside the net to clear the ball, but #27 Bruno Rendón jumped in the way to force the ball into the back of the net.

After the Independence defense withstood heavy pressure from Northern Colorado, the Jacks turned it around and found a breakthrough in the 27th minute. #8 Joel Johnson hit a curling shot into the top right corner from outside the penalty area to tie the score.

The Jacks continued attacking with numerous chances crafted by skilled passing between #56 Gabriel Obertan and #29 J.C. Obregón Jr.

Halftime: Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC 1, Charlotte Independence 1.

A quick counterattack led to a second stellar goal by the Independence. #14 Luis Alvarez carried the ball up the pitch and found Obertan on the left side. Obertan utilized his foot skills to force a Hailstorm defender backwards before passing back to Alvarez just outside the penalty area. Alvarez curled a first-touch shot into the side netting for the lead in the 52nd minute.

Charlotte faced a great deal of pressure from the hosts again, including two long-range shots off the crossbar. Northern Colorado scored a late equalizer in the 88th minute off a header by #11 Marky Hernández on a cross into the penalty area.

Fulltime: Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC 2, Charlotte Independence 2.

Per usual in USL Jägermeister Cup matches, the teams compete in a penalty shootout if the score is tied after regulation. Two penalty kicks for the Independence were unsuccessful while the Hailstorm scored four to secure an extra point in the tournament standings.


#1 Austin Pack logged 10 saves in the match.

#56 Gabriel Obertan recorded two assists in the match.

#15 Noah Pilato made his first start in all competitions for the Independence.

#8 Joel Johnson scored his second goal of the season in all competitions.

Johnson's goal was the first shot of the game for Charlotte. The Jacks had a 0.02 expected goals metric following the goal, exemplifying the impressiveness of the strike.

#14 Luis Alvarez scored his fourth goal of the season in all competitions.


Head Coach Mike Jeffries

On the team's response after conceding early

"The goal itself - how many bad bounces didn't go our way - but more importantly from our end, our response after the goal was fantastic and from that moment on, we played a very solid game. A really sharp road game. It was not a game where we thought we would have all the possession, but we managed the game well, scored two fantastic goals, and did enough that we felt like we should have gotten a win on the road."

On Joel Johnson's goal

"It felt like we were starting to work our way back into the game, and that goal was huge for us. It was a big boost of confidence and helped us push through the rest of the half with a good mentality."

On conceding a late tying goal

"It's always frustrating when you give up a goal that late in the game. It's disappointing and difficult to take, but we put what we had into the game and walked away a little bit frustrated with how the second goal came about. But we also had a bit of luck; they hit the crossbar twice on very good shots as well."

#13 Anton Sorenson

On playing higher on the pitch in this match

"Our formation starting the game was good; we just started pretty slow. Playing with three defenders in the back allows me to get very high up the pitch and make things happen in the offensive half or final third."

#8 Joel Johnson

On his goal's impact on the team's performance

"I think the team had a good mentality from the beginning, although we conceded early. We made some adjustments that helped us equalize the score. In the second half, the team grew over time, and we managed to score the goal that put us ahead."

On how the game finished

"In the end, the team fought to win, but in a fortuitous play, they scored the tying goal. It's a shame. We thought we deserved more, but football has these things. We just have to rest and come back stronger next week."

NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence host South Georgia Tormenta FC on Saturday, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. at American Legion Memorial Stadium. Purchase tickets at

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