|Another home clean sheet sends Charlotte to C-USA soccer semifinals|
|1-0 win vs. UAB is 10th of season at Transamerica|
|Published Wednesday, November 7, 2018 9:37 pm|
The Charlotte 49ers are 17 minutes away from going 1,000 without conceding a goal. Their approach: don’t think about it.
No. 3 Charlotte’s 1-0 overtime win against No. 6 Alabama-Birmingham in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament at Transamerica Field marks a 10-0 record at home this season. It also puts them on a seven-game winning streak and secured their place in the tournament semifinals on Friday, where they face No. 2 Old Dominion, one of three teams to beat the 49ers during the regular season.
“It doesn’t cross my mind,” senior midfielder Tommy Madden said of the 983 minute streak. “I hope it doesn’t cross any of my other teammates’ minds, just because we could go down 2-0 next game, and as long as we win 3-2, I’ll be just as happy as I am if we had won 5-0.
“I’m sure the defenders, because they take more pride in it, think about it, and obviously they deserve it 100 percent, as does [goalkeepers] Elliot Panicco and [Austin] Mullins when he has been in there. I don’t think about it, but I’m sure they do a little bit, which is OK, but the next game is all that matters. What we’ve done now means nothing.”
Freshman striker Preston Popp scored his third goal of the season to secure Charlotte’s place in the next round. The assist came from Madden; his fifth of the season, and a career-high.
“It’s just been a learning experience,” Popp said. “The guys took me under their wing. It’s all work here. You’ve got to have the fitness. You’ve got to be about it. You’ve got to tackle hard. You’ve got to press, play defense, and then do your thing on offense. It’s really just the mindset.”
Coach Kevin Langan remains adamant that Charlotte cannot expect anything just because they are playing at home, despite the success they have enjoyed.
“When you start to expect things to happen, that’s when you get in trouble,” he said. “We’re just going to stay in the game, try our best.”
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