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Independence 'unacceptable' in 3-0 loss to Bethlehem Steel
Jacks: One win over the last two months
Published Wednesday, August 8, 2018 9:46 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

MATTHEWS—Struggles abound for the Charlotte Independence.

A 3-0 loss to Bethlehem Steel (sixth in the USL East at 9-9-6, 33 points) culminates in two months where the Jacks have produced one win. They stand 10th in the USL East at 7-9-7 with 28 points.

“Tonight was unacceptable,” coach Mike Jeffries said. “Just an unacceptable performance. As the leader of the group, I take responsibility for the preparation, and the guys’ mentality, and being ready, but tonight, we were very poor at the beginning of the game. We could have been down a few goals before the game even started, basically. The mentality of the group hasn’t quite been sharp enough, as we’ve gone through this stretch.”

Charlotte hasn’t won a match in which they conceded first, and tonight they trailed seven minutes in.

“I think there’s a certain frustration with how the results have gone,” Jeffries said. “A lack of confidence in terms of us being able to closeout games—we certainly haven’t been good this year once we give up the first goal. I don’t think we have any wins out of it—a couple draws. It’ll take more fight than what we’ve showed tonight.”

While the Jacks have proven themselves capable of playing a possession-oriented game, they struggle in both boxes.

“It comes down to being ruthless in the box,” defender Bilal Duckett said. “We’re a very good possession team. We can keep the ball, and knock it between the 18s, but when it comes to finishing teams off or making that play that we need to on the defensive end, we’ve been a step late.”

Said Jeffries: “It’s been the story of the season. We can’t afford to be down 1-0 and chase the game against a team that lives off the counterattack and has tremendous pace. For us, that’s been the gist of the season—we’ve not really been dynamic enough in the final third. Tonight we probably had a lot of shots [17], but we never hit the target.”

Note: Midfielder Kevan George’s yellow card in the first half means he will miss the next match at Pittsburgh.

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