|Charlotte Independence's worst start ever (1-6-3) continues|
|Jacks stumble with 3-1 setback to Loudoun|
|Published Saturday, May 11, 2019 10:12 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|The Charlotte Independence's 1-6-3 start is the USL Championship side's worst start after 10 games in the franchise's five seasons.|
MATTHEWS—The Charlotte Independence have never started so slowly.
With six points to show for their first 10 games, the Jacks cannot seem to get it right in the attacking third, nor the defensive. They sit 16th in the 18-team USL Championship Eastern Conference at 1-6-3.
Last season, Charlotte started a franchise-best 5-3-2 through their first 10 performances. Their previous worst was 3-4-3 in their inaugural season in 2015 before going 4-4-2 in 2016 and 3-3-4 in 2017.
Crumbling remains constant for Charlotte, which gave up a goal in the final minute of the first half in its 3-1 loss Saturday to expansion side Loudoun, and allowed the visitors to score again in the first minute of the second half.
“Once we concede a goal, it seems to take a lot out of us,” said first-year coach Jim McGuinness. “When we’re high, we’re high. When we’re low, we’re very low. That’s something we’ve spoken about in the dressing room. We need to be much more resilient when we do concede. The chances we do concede, they’re not difficult chances, a lot of them. Some of them are quite easy chances for the opposition. Why that is, is something we need to get to the bottom of. We played really well for 45 minutes, and then once we concede, it seems like we’re in the worst possible position.”
Charlotte has scored 11 goals and conceded 20 in 10 matches.
“Right now, we’re on the ground,” said forward Dom Oduro, who leads the Independence with four goals. “We can’t go any lower. It’s just a matter of picking ourselves up, and getting up, and moving up.”
Midfielder Enzo Martinez, who has been with the club since its first season (minus last year in MLS with Colorado) sees similarities between that expansion side and 2019. The roster includes numerous new faces and McGuinness as coach, and the impact of high turnover has taken its toll.
“I remember a lot of similarities from that year to this,” Martinez said. “It’s a whole different group of players trying to learn each other, trying to learn how everyone plays. I have zero doubt that this team is more than capable. The players, the quality that we have, it’s really good individually. We just have to find a way. It’s hard right now for everyone—for the fans, for the staff for the players, because we need to get more from games.”
Charlotte has a short week, hosting the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against the Florida Soccer Soldiers (UPSL) on May 14 at 7 p.m. Florida beat Miami FC (NPSL) 2-1 in the first round, with goals from William Stamatis and Carlos Daniel Meneses.
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