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Another stumble for Independence, this time in US Open Cup play
Florida drops Charlotte 5-4 on penalty kicks
 
Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019 10:41 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

FILE PHOTO
The Charlotte Independence fell to 1-7-3 in all competitions with a 5-4 loss to Florida Soccer Soldiers in the U.S. Open Cup.

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MATTHEWS—The Charlotte Independence cannot figure out how to put a game away.

The USL Championship side lost in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup 5-4 on penalty kicks to UPSL club Florida Soccer Soldiers (7-0). It marks the second consecutive season that a lower league team has knocked the Jacks out in the second round.

Florida midfielder Antonioni Gonzalez was shown a second yellow in the 92nd minute, forcing the visitors to play with 10 men during overtime. Midfielder Valentin Sabella scored both goals for FSS (78th minute off a header and 128th on a breakaway).

Defender Hugh Roberts scored his first goal for the Independence off a free kick from midfielder Enzo Martinez in the first half. Forward Dominic Oduro scored his fifth goal of the season in the second minute of overtime. His attempt in the 98th minute of regulation was disallowed.

“It’s the small parts of the game that are absolutely killing us,” Independence coach Jim McGuinness said.

Despite having a man advantage, Charlotte showed why they have one win in all competitions this season after 11 games (1-7-3 overall). Despite creating numerous chances, the Independence let opportunity after opportunity slip away. Six of their 20 shots were on frame, completed 566 passes for 76.1 percent accuracy to the visitors’ 70.7 percent with 460 completed passes and six shots of 19 on target.

“Tonight was reflective of the season so far,” McGuinness said. “Long periods of the game where we dominated the game. Again, we go in front and we give away a very poor goal. Then we recover the game, we dominate the game, and then we do the same thing again. We shoot ourselves in our foot.”

Their disastrous start comes with a new coaching staff, and numerous new faces. While a learning curve fits a new system, they should have a few answers after 11 games.

“We’re not playing the way we want to play,” McGuiness said. “We’re not moving the ball it enough fluidity, and we’re not connected enough. Defensively, when teams get opportunities, they normally end up being good opportunities, and they really, really punish us.”

Charlotte hits the road until June 15, when they face Birmingham. They begin in Nashville on May 18, followed by Pittsburgh, with trips to Ottawa and ending in Kansas City, Missouri on June 8.

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