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Independence winless streak reaches 3 with 2-0 loss to NCFC
Jacks fall behind in second half to rival
 
Published Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:33 am
by Ashley Mahoney

MATTHEWS—The Independence are giving away points.

Falling 2-0 to North Carolina F.C. puts the Jacks on a two-game losing streak in which they have not scored since drawing Atlanta 2-2 on March 31.

“The goals we give away are just disappointing simple mistakes that put us behind the eight ball,” coach Mike Jeffries said. “It was hard for us, chasing the game. We couldn’t find a way to sort of break through, at all.”

The Jacks finished with one of their six shots on target against NCFC, who were playing Charlotte for the first time as a USL team.

“We end the night with one shot on goal, which is way too low, especially at home and for the amount of possession that we have,” Jeffries said. “We weren’t clinical at all with the last play. We weren’t clever with it, and didn’t do what we should have done.”

Said defender Donnie Smith: “It’s always going to be tough when you have to chase the game, especially in a rivalry game like this. That first goal is key, and momentum kind of swings. At the same time, we’re all professionals. We’ve all been in situations like this before. It’s just a matter of, like coach says, winning your individual battles. When we go down a goal, it’s not time to sulk, it’s time to lift the team up, lift the guys up around you, take responsibility for yourself, and keep pushing.”

Charlotte claimed six points in games where they score first, but have not won when they fall behind. They have conceded six goals in their last three games, scoring a total of two. Those numbers in reverse signify how their season started: six goals scored, two goals conceded.

“That’s three games in a row that we’ve given up the first goal, and really not even made the opponent earn it in terms of putting together a good play, and really breaking us down. It’s disappointing for sure. It’s going to be a point of emphasis as we head into the break.”

The Jacks return to the Sportsplex on April 28 against Indy Eleven, who like NCFC, made the jump from NASL to USL. They are also the former club of striker Eamon Zayed, who holds their club record for goals scored in a season with 15. He made his debut for the Independence against NCFC, coming on as a substitute in the 64th minute.

Charlotte has struggled with early injuries, particularly at center back. Smith returned after missing two games due to a groin injury, but Jung-Soo Lee (hamstring) is not 100 percent fit, and Henry Kalungi strained his left hamstring against NCFC in the 49th minute. The Jacks look to recover during the bye week.

“Everyone wants results, but this is a process,” Kalungi said. “We’re going to go back in training and get people healthy. It’s good that some guys are coming back. It’s the beginning of the season. There are a lot of games to be played. We started off unbeaten. Maybe we shall get back to that momentum.”

 

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