|Charlotte Independence look to rebound vs. Indy Eleven|
|Jacks have 1 point over last three games|
|Published Friday, April 27, 2018|
The Jacks need points.
The Charlotte Independence host Indy Eleven for the first time in franchise history on April 28 at 7 p.m. at the Sportsplex at Matthews. Charlotte’s initial success has faded from their season-opening position at the top of the USL East to ninth (2-2-1, seven points). Indy Eleven is fourth in the East (3-1, nine points). Charlotte has not played since their 2-0 home loss to North Carolina F.C. on April 14.
“We’ve been working hard,” midfielder Alex Martinez said. “We’re trying to get back into it, back to the good old things that we usually do. It’s a rough week, especially after going down to NCFC. You never want to lose at home, but especially to a rival. We’re just trying to bounce back, and get things right for Indy Eleven. We put that behind us, but in the back our mind. We know we have to get back into winning ways, and getting points, especially at home.”
Said coach Mike Jeffries: “The time off was a positive physically for us. That’s for sure. It’s the first break we’ve had since we started preseason a couple months ago. It’s probably nice a little bit mentally to get away and come back.”
Held scoreless over the last two matches, the Jacks need to reestablish their attack.
“We’ve always had an attacking presence in each and every game that we’ve played,” midfielder Cordell Cato said. “It’s just getting the right start and taking our chances. If we do that, we’ll be able to pull out the wins that we need.”
Jeffries expects a sharper and more cohesive performance on Saturday.
“Coming off two games in which we had decent possession, but we didn’t create enough, and didn’t have enough shots on goal or enough defensively—a lot of the stuff for us is just movement, and being a little bit more dynamic in the final third. It’s given us the opportunity to look at couple of different things and how we structure the group and move things as well.”
Said Cato: “From a collective standpoint, it’s just being in tune to the game. Some games are going to work out not so great. Some games are going to be good. At the same point, we try to stay focused and not give up goals. You give up goals, you lose games.”
Charlotte’s two-week respite included a Trinidad and Tobago national team call-up for Cato in a 1-0 loss to Panama on April 17.
“It’s a privilege to get called up to the national team,” Cato said. “I hadn’t been active with them for six games before that. The coach [Dennis Lawrence] reached out. He saw that we had an off week. It was good for me, instead of just lazing around for a week and not doing anything. Being back was more important than the football. I know people aren’t going to agree with that. I was able to see my kids and wife. It’s always fun being on the national, and being around some of the guys. Most of them are young. It’s a good experience.”
Said Jeffries: “The break was good for him. Being a part of the national team was, I think, one of his goals in coming here.”
Familiar faces: Former Charlotte Eagles coach Dave Dixon is now an Indy Eleven assistant coach.
Indy Eleven head coach Martin Rennie played for the Eagles with Dixon in the 1990s.
Independence striker Éamon Zayed spent two seasons with Indy Eleven in the NASL. He holds their single-season record of 15 goals from the 2015 season, scoring a total of 26 goals and tallying nine assists.
Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard’s red card against Real Salt Lake forced the Jacks’ MLS affiliate to call goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra up from Charlotte.
New signing: Defender Je-Vaughn Watson, who spent the last two seasons with the New England Revolution, has been added to the roster. He has 27 starts in 41 appearances with a goal and an assist for New England.
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