|Drought's over: Jacks stop winless streak against F.C. Cincinnati|
|4-1 result is first victory since March|
|Published Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:00 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Yann Ekra, left, and Cordell Cato, center, each scored for the Charlotte Independence in their 4-1 USL win against F.C. Cincinnati Saturday at the Sportsplex at Matthews.|
MATTHEWS—The Charlotte Independence didn’t take the easy way out.
They responded to six weeks of goalless and winless matches with a 4-1 win against USL Eastern Conference leader F.C. Cincinnati (5-2-2, 17 points). Midfielder Cordell Cato scored the Jacks’ (3-3-2, 11 points) first goal of the season, and broke their goalless drought off a ball from striker Jorge Herrera in the 38th minute.
“The way we came out tonight was near perfect,” Cato said.
Midfielder Yann Ekra found the back of the net for the first time since joining the team in 2016, while midfielder Kay Voser and striker Éamon Zayed also scored their first goals for the club.
“On paper anyway, Cincinnati are the best team in the league,” Zayed said. “They have a massive squad, full of talent, but as Cato said, I think tonight shows just how good we can be. It was a bit of a shift up front. We created a lot of chances. Scoring your first goal for your new club is always the hardest, and it’s a massive, massive relief. Just seeing the ball hit the back of the net—I didn’t really hit it that well, but I don’t care. It hit the back of the net, and that’s a bit of a weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Charlotte, which improved from 12th in the East to eighth, took 15 shots, seven of which went on frame.
“You always want to take your chances,” Voser said. “If you don’t shoot, you can’t score. We haven’t really had many shots on target. We haven’t had many shots in the last couple of games. I just thought, let’s just give it a go, and try and shoot as much as possible.”
Nearly half of Charlotte’s typical starting 11 changed, due mostly to injuries, but disciplinary action and MLS call-ups as well. Charlotte’s injury tally: Caleb Calvert (groin and hamstring) defenders Bilal Duckett and Donnie Smith as well as midfielders Kevan George and Greg Jordan (knee). Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra flew back to Colorado this morning to join the Rapids. Defender Henry Kalungi earned a red card in Charlotte’s loss to Charleston last weekend.
“There would have been a lot of easy excuses in terms of us not having played well over the last few weeks,” coach Mike Jeffries said. “Not having gotten results, not having gotten goals, and to have a slew of injuries on top of it, and missed guys, it would have been possible for teams to shy away, especially playing a team that’s at the top of the conference. I give credit to the guys. They wanted none of it. They came out with passion. They came out with energy, with a real confidence and a real belief that they could get it done, and they showed that tonight.”
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