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Dynamic Duo Key as Independence Down Kickers

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/26/18, 9:01PM EDT


Cato, Ekra lead way in 3-1 victory as Charlotte wins third in a row

Photo courtesy Jessica Stone Hendricks / Richmond Kickers

RICHMOND, Va. – Cordell Cato and Yann Ekra led the Charlotte Independence to a 3-1 victory against the Richmond Kickers on Saturday night at City Stadium to claim a third consecutive victory. The Independence took the lead in the 14th minute when a chipped ball over the top found Cordell Cato running into space into the left side of the penalty area and the Trinidad & Tobago international slid his pass centrally to give Yann Ekra a simple first-time finish. Richmond appeared to have hit back 11 minutes later as Brian Shriver’s low cross found Heviel Cordoves for a low finish that was saved by Independence goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, but after the rebound came back off Cordoves and found the net it was ruled to have come off his arm, keeping Charlotte ahead. The Independence doubled their lead just before halftime as Cato and Ekra switched roles, with Cato tapping home after Ekra ran onto a through-ball into the penalty area before laying off the pass for a two-goal lead. The Kickers went close to answering inside the opening minute of the second half, only for Cordoves’ volleyed finish to go wide of the right post, but the Independence took a three-goal lead with 14 minutes to go as Cato notched his second of the game with a fine curled finish to the right corner. Richmond’s Brian Shriver volleyed home a fine finish with 10 minutes to go for the hosts, but it proved little more than a consolation as the Independence claimed their first road win of the season.

14’ – CLT – Yann Ekra (Cordell Cato)
45’ – CLT – Cordell Cato (Yann Ekra)
76’ – CLT – Cordell Cato (Yann Ekra)
80’ – RIC – Brian Shriver

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. The Independence took their first road win of the season thanks to some smart running and interplay by veterans Yann Ekra and Cordell Cato, who created simple chances for each other thanks to smart runs in behind the Kickers’ defense that caught the hosts flat twice in the first half. After being held scoreless in four consecutive games, a run that dropped the Independence down the Eastern Conference standings, the side has now scored nine goals in its last three games to get things headed in a very strong direction for Head Coach Mike Jeffries’ side.

  • 2. Saturday’s game felt like the sort of contest the Kickers were going to need to get points from to maintain their push toward the Eastern Conference playoff positions, but while Brian Shriver struck a late consolation goal it was a frustrating night overall for the hosts. That was exacerbated by the denial of a potential equalizer in the first half by Heviel Cordoves which was ruled to have gone off the Cuban forward’s hands despite his protestations that his chest had provided the carom for his rebound chance. Had the goal stood, the game certainly could have ended up differently, but the break didn’t go Richmond’s way.

  • 3. With three consecutive victories under their belts, the Independence have made a strong move back into the playoff positions in the opening game of a four-game road trip that could prove pivotal as it approaches the midway point of the regular season. With a visit to the in-form Ottawa Fury FC and New York Red Bulls II, who remain one of the stronger home sides in the lead, picking up three points on Saturday night was a very welcome way to get things going ahead of a tough stretch between now and its next home game against the Charleston Battery on June 16. Man of the Match

Cordell Cato, Charlotte Independence – Cato’s two goals and one assist were highlighted by his second tally of the night, which curled beautifully into the right corner of the net to provide the exclamation point on Charlotte’s victory.

Upcoming Games:

Richmond Kickers vs. Pittsburgh Riverhound SC – June 2, 7 p.m. ET, City Stadium

Charlotte Independence at Ottawa Fury FC – June 2, 7 p.m. ET, TD Place

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