Photo courtesy Charlotte Independence
MATTHEWS, N.C. – The Charlotte Independence ended a five-game winless streak with a 4-1 victory against FC Cincinnati on Saturday night at the Sportsplex at Matthews that broke FCC’s three-game winning streak in emphatic fashion. Charlotte’s Jorge Herrera headed just over the crossbar in the third minute as the hosts made a positive start, and moments later an error by FCC goalkeeper Spencer Richey gave a chance to Cordell Cato, but the Independence midfielder sent his shot just wide of the right post. Kay Voser also went close in the 20th minute for the hosts, firing just wide of the left post before Cincinnati’s Emmanuel Ledesma forced a save by Independence goalkeeper Brandon Miller from long range, but the Independence took the lead seven minutes before halftime as Cato fired home a turning finish into the top-right corner of the net, ending a four-game scoreless drought for the Independence at 403 minutes. Charlotte doubled its lead before halftime as Yann Ekra’s low 25-yard shot picked out the right corner of the net, but Cincinnati hit back six minutes into the second half as Ledesma played in Danni Konig, who beat his marker and Miller to a through-ball and finished into the open net. The Independence restored their two-goal lead in the 57th minute, however, as Voser curled home a fine finish off Herrera’s back-heel flick at the top of the penalty area. Cincinnati almost pulled one back with 10 minutes to go, but Miller saved comfortably from Emery Welshman’s header, but Eamon Zayed’s first goal for the Independence wrapped up the victory with three minutes to go in a big win for the hosts.
38’ – CLT – Cordell Cato (Jorge Herrera)
45+2’ – CLT – Yann Ekra (Alex Martinez)
51’ – CIN – Danni Konig (Emmanuel Ledesma)
57’ – CLT – Kay Voser (Jorge Herrera)
87’ – CLT – Eamon Zayed (Kay Voser)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Charlotte couldn’t have produced its best performance since the opening day of the season at a more opportune time as it broke a five-game winless streak and four-game scoreless streak with the sort of display that felt like the side had wiped the slate clean over the past week. From Jorge Herrera’s two assists to three excellent finishes, Charlotte was well worth its victory as it more than matched the Eastern Conference leaders in terms of quality across the field.
2. After conceding late in stoppage time to go down by a pair of goals, Cincinnati came out with exactly the sort of reaction you would expect as it quickly pulled back a goal on a great build-up and finish by Emmanuel Ledesma and Danni Konig, but after Kay Voser restored the host’s two-goal lead six minutes later it didn’t feel like there was going to be a way back for FCC on this night. Conceding four goals for the first since a 4-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls II last August, FCC be out to put in a major response in both the Open Cup on Wednesday night, and against North Carolina FC back at Nippert Stadium next Saturday.
3. Arguably the most impressive aspect of the Independence’s performance was the way the side combined consistently at the top of the penalty area to create the chances that led the side to victory. Veterans Alex Martinez and Jorge Herrera were in the center of those efforts, with Herrera picking up two assists on the night. There’s more to be done to get the Independence back up the Eastern Conference standings, but a night like tonight showed how good Charlotte can be when it’s at the top of its game.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kay Voser, Charlotte Independence – Voser had a goal and assist in a tremendous display that saw him complete 56 of 61 passes and regularly look dangerous in the attacking third.
Charlotte Independence at Toronto FC II – May 19, 7:30 p.m. ET, Monarch Park Stadium
FC Cincinnati vs. North Carolina FC – May 19, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium