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Charlotte Independence fall in 3-0 loss to Mexico's Santos Laguna
Younger Jacks get playing time in friendly
Published Wednesday, September 5, 2018 10:43 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

MATTHEWS—Passion makes for a great atmosphere

The Charlotte Independence hosted their second international friendly tonight, facing Santos Laguna of Mexico’s LigaMX. They lost 3-0, with all of Santos Laguna’s goals came in the second half.

Their fans painted the Sportsplex at Matthews green, hoisting club flags and sprinting up and down the stands inspiring morale. Fans wrapped around “Autograph Alley” into the stands following the match for pictures and autographs with their favorite player.

“Great atmosphere,” said Charlotte defender James Kiffe, a recent signee. “I noticed they had a lot of fans tonight. Our fans were making some noise as well. It seems like a really good opportunity to get some new fans coming to our games, because that’s a very good team we played against. They won [the LigaMX championship] last year, and to be able to hang with them in the first half, while they are in season, is a good result for us.”

Charlotte sits 12th with 32 points at 8-11-8 in the USL East. Santos Laguna stands fifth in LigaMX at 4-2-2.

“The guys enjoyed tonight,” Charlotte coach Mike Jeffries said. “It’s always good to be able to challenge yourself against top clubs throughout the world. Important for us with regard to the weekend, we got through it without injury, which is always a big thing. We try and just manage the guys’ health over the next couple of days. It was a good opportunity for us to look at guys in a couple of different spots, and see how they would hold up. It was a really good opportunity for some of the young guys to get a run in the second half.”

The Jacks previously hosted Swansea (then English Premier League) in a 2016 friendly. Such matches afford minutes to players who would not necessarily otherwise see playing time. For instance, goalkeeper Ben Beaury made his club debut, coming on for Andrew Dykstra in the second half. He allowed two goals.

“They told me yesterday that I would get some minutes,” said Beaury, who signed with the club on May 31. “Today came and I was just waiting for it. They told me to be confident and own it, and the rest is taken care of.”

Note: Charlotte has four players who received national team call-ups: midfielder Kevan George, Trinidad and Tobago; defenders Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica), Sam Vines (under-20 U.S. men’s national team) and Joel Johnson (Liberia).

Next up: Richmond at the Sportsplex on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

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