|Charlotte Independence stops Nashville to end winless streak|
|Kevan George goal difference in 1-0 result|
|Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 11:06 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Charlotte Independence midfielder prepares to take a shot in the Jacks' 1-0 win against Nashville Wednesday at the Sportsplex in Matthews. The win was Charlotte's first since June 2.|
MATTHEWS — Organization pays.
A 1-0 victory against Nashville (7-4-6, sixth in the USL East, 27 points) marked the Charlotte Independence’s (7-6-6, seventh, 27 points) first three points since a 1-0 victory at Ottawa on June 2. Charlotte snapped a two-game losing streak with tonight’s win (their run since June 2 included four draws and three losses).
“That’s definitely been frustrating,” said midfielder Cordell Cato, who is tied for the team assists lead alongside striker Jorge Herrera with three, and second to Herrera’s nine goals with eight. “We’ve come out of games thinking we’re the better team. Obviously football is about results. We got one goal. Most of the games, one goal wasn’t enough. The Tampa Bay game, two goals weren’t enough. It’s been a difficult stretch. During any season, you’re going to have stretches. We’ve been resilient.”
Cato provided the assist on the second ball off Herrera’s free kick in the first half against Nashville, playing a ball to midfielder Kevan George, who found the back of the net for the first time this season.
“Tonight it was just taking a chance,” Cato said. “I knew Jorge was going to shoot. I placed myself in behind the wall with one intention, just following up, getting on the end of the ball. If it doesn’t go in, my intention was for me to get it. It went wide, and I was able to pick Kevan out, and it was a great finish. I was just being alert, taking a chance, and it worked out.”
While Cato and George are also teammates on the Trinidad and Tobago national team, combinations like tonight typically occur during club training sessions rather than international play.
“He’ll score goals like that in practice,” Cato said. “I was just saying, ‘you need one in a game.’ I’m thankful I was able to provide it, and fortunate that he was able to score.”
Goalkeeper Andrew Dkystra summed up the difference between tonight and previous matches in a word: “organized.”
“Greg [Jordan] and Henry [Kalungi] are both experienced guys who you can rely on when they need to step in [at center back],” Dkystra said. “This is one of those nights where you’ve just got to do what you do, and do it smart, keep your head, and they did that. They worked hard, and earned the clean sheet.”
A combination of card accumulation—defender Bilal Duckett in the previous match against Indy Eleven—and injuries have plagued the Jacks at center back throughout the season. A midweek game gave Jordan little time to prepare for a position he had not played in for “four or five” years.
“My first two years I played center back a little bit, but it’s been a while,” Jordan said. “Coach [Mike Jeffries] knew I was comfortable playing in that position. It felt like it wasn’t a big change of plans or anything like that. It ended up being a short week, so it wasn’t like something you’re working on throughout the week. It was just kind of a step in and play the role.”
Said Jeffries: “He’s a very smart soccer player. He reads the game really, really well, and has a good eye for movement. He’s a solid tackler, and a really good ball winner. It felt more comfortable with him, given some of the guys who were not available tonight. Coming in from the center of midfield, he’s a very good passer, playing out of the back.”
Note: striker Caleb Calvert received a red card in the 93rd and will miss the next match. Defender Joel Johnson received his fifth yellow card, and will not be eligible for the next match due to accumulation. Duckett and defender Donnie Smith have served their card suspensions, and are eligible for the next match.
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