|Independence look to get results in USL Championship's final leg|
|Jacks take on Swope Park at Sportsplex|
|Published Saturday, September 21, 2019 12:40 am|
|Charlotte Independence outside back Joel Johnson is finished for the season after breaking a bone in his left foot.|
The end of a rough season is drawing near for the Charlotte Independence.
They host Swope Park Rangers—last in the USL Championship Eastern Conference at 4-7-16 with 19 points—Saturday at 7 p.m. It is the first of their final five games, four of which are against teams currently outside playoff position. The Jacks host No. 17 Hartford (6-19-4, 22 points) on Sept. 28. They travel to No. 12 Bethlehem (8-14-6, 30 points) on Oct. 6 and No. 13 Memphis on Oct. 12 (7-13-7, 28 points). They conclude the regular season at home on Oct. 19 against Ottawa (eighth with 42 points, 8-9-6).
“We have five games left to the season—guaranteed games,” midfielder Kevan George said. “We just have to go out and win—enjoy it. It’s been a rough year for us, very, very up and down, but I know tomorrow we’re going to come out and give the fans a good performance, and get a good win at home.”
Charlotte has not won a game in over two months—July 13, 2-1 against Saint Louis. They have not won a game on the road this season.
“The guys have kept good spirits,” coach Mike Jeffries said. “Disappointment with the run we’ve been on, and a lot of frustration.”
The Jacks are coming off a 2-0 loss at New York, which currently sits atop of the East with 56 points at 17-7-5.
“We weren’t able to get a result, and we were not happy in terms of that, but also, a night where at least the energy was good, and we competed with the top team in the conference well,” Jeffries said.
“We took some positives out of a night where we didn’t get a result, and enough to try and push forward into this week.”
Charlotte will conclude the season without outside back Joel Johnson, who is out for 10 weeks with a broken metatarsal in his left foot. Subsequently, defender Brendan McDonough will see more time in the starting lineup. The rookie center back made his debut against Charleston on Aug. 30. The Charlotte Catholic alumnus arrived in Charlotte on Aug. 7 from MLS side Vancouver.
“The level in training has been really high,” McDonough said. “We’ve come off some unlucky results away from home against good teams. It’s just trying to maximize points in the last five games. For me, of course, it’s getting minutes, but when you become a part of a team, all you start to think about is winning as a team. It’s good to get more minutes, but also trying to get into the playoffs, and a playoff push so we can play more.”
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