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Charlotte Independence takes down second straight unbeaten opponent
3-2 win vs. Hartford moves Jacks to second
 
Published Sunday, June 13, 2021 10:06 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

PHOTO | TROY HULL
Charlotte defender Christian Dean advances the ball Sunday in the Independence's 3-2 win against previously unbeaten Hartford Athletic at Sportsplex at Matthews. Charlotte (4-2) is second in the USL Championship's Atlantic Division with 12 points while Hartford (3-1-1) dropped to third at 10 points.

MATTHEWS—The Charlotte Independence continue to climb up the table.

A 3-2 win for the Jacks against Hartford Athletic puts them second in the Atlantic Division at 4-2 with 12 points, while Hartford (3-1-1) drops to third with 10 points. It marked the second consecutive week an unbeaten side above Charlotte in the table left Sportsplex at Matthews without a point. Charlotte beat Atlantic leader Tampa Bay 1-0 in their home opener last week.

Charlotte came back from a goal down twice in second half in which five goals were scored in the final 39 minutes.

Substitutions made the difference for Charlotte. Midfielder Noah Paravicini’s name may not appear on the score sheet, but he helped control the center of the park and did not turn the ball over after coming on in the 52nd minute for rookie right wing player Blake Pope, who made his first professional start. Striker Dane Kelly drew Charlotte level on his first goal of the season. The USL Championship’s all-time leading scorer came on for Parra and was told to do his thing, which meant finding the back of the net. Kelly played the most minutes he has all season since making his debut against Miami earlier this season and while he does not feel entirely match fit, Kelly is playing more minutes each match.

“Last week is like the best week I’ve had during training,” he said. “You see I got more minutes so that tells you that my fitness is getting better.”

Midfielder/striker Valentin Sabella produced several firsts for the Jacks. Head coach Mike Jeffries said the young player would have to earn his minutes, and Sabella made a case for them.

“It’s a tremendous finish and a good goal, and obviously made a big impact on the game,” Jeffries said. “I would also credit the whole group. All the guy who came in made a really big impact. From Dane getting his first goal of the season with us and holding guys up and getting guys involved. I thought Noah was excellent. Tre[sor Mbuyu] comes in and his first touch is to Val. Val was very effective in his time. He was able to run at players. He was effective with a couple of balls in behind [defenders] that got us crosses, and he had a really positive impact on the day.”

Charlotte heads to New York Red Bulls II (1-5-2, five points, seventh in the division) on June 16.

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