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Charlotte Independence adds Chaney to boost depth on attack
Help required with compact USL Championship
 
Published Monday, August 24, 2020 1:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

COURTESY CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE
the Charlotte Independence signed Christian Chaney, 25, to add depth at striker during the shortened USL Championship campaign.

The Charlotte Independence are preparing for their toughest USL Championship campaign yet.


The Jacks, who will play nine games in 35 days, sit second in Group G with nine points at 2-2-3. They are in the midst of three-game week starting with a 2-1 loss in Miami Sunday, North Carolina FC, which they have never beaten in league play on Aug. 26, followed by group leaders Birmingham on Aug. 29. NCFC is third in Group G with seven points at 2-3-1. Birmingham leads the group with 18 points at 5-1-3. Charlotte finishes the 16-game regular season with seven games in September.

While they have the league’s all-time leading goal scorer striker in Dane Kelly getting the job done up top with a team-leading four goals, Charlotte general manager and head coach Mike Jeffries knows they need another attacking option to push through the upcoming physically demanding stretch. They announced the signing of 25-year old forward Christian Chaney last week.

“Christian has a different way of playing,” Jeffries said. “Dane is clearly the guy. Part of the concern and thought process is that this is a really hard season with the number of games we have in such a short period, and trying to manage guy’s fitness and health will be important and just making sure we are in a position where we can always have the availability of fresh legs up front when we need them. We have basically three stretches in the season where we play four or five games in two weeks, and that’s really hard physically on guys.”

Said Chaney: “Dane is the leading goal scorer for a reason, so I don’t really see it as a competition. I am just going to try to learn and feed off what he has. He is the number one here so whenever he is tired or can’t do something, I’m going to try and impact the game as much as possible. I have goals in me and I’m going to try and contribute to the team as much as possible.”

While the Independence had previously looked at bringing in Chaney, he decided to take his chance abroad. Most recently, he signed with Mosta Football Club in the Maltese Premier League. However, COVID-19 forced him to return to the United States. Jeffries reached out with an opportunity in Charlotte.

“I heard about the club’s interest in me about four weeks ago,” Chaney said. “Mike had been trying to get me since last season but I went overseas to give it a try there but when COVID hit everything changed. I was training on my own at home and just waiting for an opportunity. Thankfully, Mike gave my agent a call and I was really excited. I have heard a lot of good things about the city of Charlotte and I have been following the team. I’m just excited to finally be here and have a team to play for.”

Said Jeffries: “We had looked at him in past years a couple of times, but it never quite worked out. It worked out for us to bring him in this time, and it felt like it made sense. He’s a good finisher off crosses and he’s a big, strong target.”  

Chaney knows the USL Championship well, playing for Fresno FC in 2018 and 2019. He scored seven goals in 2018 and five in 2019.

“It’s not easy to come in once the season has already started, and guys are a little further along fitness wise and knowing the system,” Jeffries said. “At this point, we’re looking to get him in with the group and up to the speed of play. He’s a proven goal scorer, and he is a guy who has had success in the league.”

Charlotte’s other options up top are league veteran Enzo Martinez and Garinger High and Charlotte Eagles alumnus Tresor Mbuyu, who is still relatively new to the league. Martinez is second on the team with two goals, playing 630 minutes. Mbuyu has played 66 minutes thus far.

“Tre has done really, really well,” Jeffries said. “He’s a guy who worked really hard during the COVID-19 break to get himself sharper and fitter. His movement is excellent. Tresor is a very different player than either Dane or Christian. It gives me different options up front, and potentially in wide areas as well.”

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