Photo courtesy of Charlotte Independence
MATTHEWS, N.C. – The Charlotte Independence set a club record with their fifth consecutive victory, rushing past Saint Louis FC for a 5-1 win on Saturday at the Sportsplex at Matthews. A weather delay pushed kickoff more than an hour later than the original time slot. Jorge Herrera tallied three times – including twice in the first half – and set up another tally as he nears a milestone, one goal away from 50 for his career. Enzo Martinez also notched a first-half goal and Bilal Duckett provided a second-half score as Charlotte rolled to the win. The Independence eclipsed their previous high of four straight wins from April 16-May 7, 2016. Charlotte improves to 8-3-4 (28 points) overall and 4-1-2 at home (3-0-0 at Matthews). Saint Louis falls to 4-7-4 (16 points) overall and 1-5-3 on the road.
14’ – CLT – Jorge Herrera (Enzo Martinez)
30’ – CLT – Jorge Herrera
38’ – CLT – Enzo Martinez (Alex Martinez)
57’ – STL – Octavio Guzman (Matt Sheldon)
61’ – CLT – Jorge Herrera (penalty)
78’ – CLT – Bilal Duckett (Jorge Herrera)
#CLTvSTL: Full match and Opta box score
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Jorge Herrera’s rejuvenating 2017 campaign has had some wheels, and he was in the right place to give Charlotte the early 1-0 lead in the 14th minute. Enzo Martinez won the ball on the right side of the box and a shot to force STLFC goalkeeper Devala Gorrick into the save. Gorrick was unfortunate as to the redirection of the ball as it clipped Martinez and popped up perfectly to Herrera and out of reach of the Saint Louis defense as Herrera headed it home for his seventh goal of the season. Then Martinez did the brunt of the work to set up Herrera in the 30th minute. Herrera’s first attempt was saved by Gorrick, but he jabbed at the rebound to notch his second of the match. Herrera capped off his night with a penalty kick conversion in the 61st minute as he now has nine on the season and 49 in his USL career.
2. Martinez finally had a goal of his own in the 38th minute to take a comfortable three-goal lead. Gorrick did everything he could possibly do in the first two sequences, but he had a blip of a moment going up against Martinez, whose post at the near right post snuck past the STLFC goalkeeper. Martinez, a finalist for USL MVP a season ago, notched his eighth goal of the season.
3. It was a forgettable night for STLFC overall, in many regards. The offense had a minor consolation with Octavio Guzman finding the score sheet early in the second half to temporarily stop the bleeding. That tally ended a stretch of 414 consecutive minutes without a goal. While ending that drought was important, it did nothing to change the dynamic of Saturday’s game as Charlotte was just too strong the rest of the way. To make matters worse, Emir Alihidivoc was sent off in the 84th minute as Saint Louis played the final minutes of the match down a man.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Jorge Herrera, Charlotte Independence – With his hat trick, Herrera is now just one goal away from reaching 50 in his USL career.
Charlotte Independence at New York Red Bulls II – July 15, 4 p.m. ET, MSU Soccer Park
Saint Louis FC vs. Charleston Battery – July 15, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis