The Charlotte Independence return home to take on fellow expansion side FC Montreal at Ramblewood Stadium in Charlotte tonight as Charlotte looks to build on their confidence boosting draw last weekend in Rochester. This will be the first time these two sides play in 2015 and for Charlotte this is a must win at home in front of the home fans.
The Goal: ATP--All Three Points
The Eastern Conference Table
|Louisville City FC||32||17||9||3||5|
|New York Red Bulls II||25||18||7||7||4|
|Harrisburg City Islanders||22||16||6||6||4|
|Saint Louis FC||21||18||5||7||6|
|Toronto FC II||12||15||3||9||3|
|Wilmington Hammerheads FC||12||18||2||10||6|
Top Six Qualify for Playoffs
What to Watch For
1) Home Cooking: It is no secret that Charlotte has struggled on the road with an 0-4-3 record but are a respectable 4-2-2 at home. And with the vagabond nature of this season, that is not too shabby. But the truth for Charlotte is that they have six games left at home and for them to have a chance at making the playoffs, they will need to win at least five of them at home.
2) Are Playoffs Realistic: That is the $64,000 question right now. The Independence are 8 points out of sixth place but have three games in hand. In theory, if they won those three games, they would be in front of NYRB II and Pittsburgh Riverhounds. That being said: look at Points Per Game in the East:
|Points Per Game|
|Louisville City FC||1.88|
|New York Red Bulls II||1.38|
|Harrisburg City Islanders||1.37|
|Saint Louis FC||1.16|
|Toronto FC II||0.80|
|Wilmington Hammerheads FC||0.66|
So if the NYRBII and Pittsburg keep the current pace they are on they will both finish with 39 points (rounded up). For the Independence to reach 40 points (one point better than projected NYRBII and Pittsburgh points) they would need to average 1.76 points per game the rest of the way. That is a significant increase over their current 1.13 points per game.
Playoffs look bleak at this point, and with 7 of 13 games left on the road, the Independence are really going to need to win as much as possible at home.
3) A Winnable Match: FC Montreal has not had a good first season and they are a team that is beatable for Charlotte. But they have won three games on the trot and will feel that Charlotte is ripe for the picking. This is a very winnable game for Charlotte, but they cannot take FC Montreal lightly at all.
How to Watch:
Match Date/Time: Friday, July 24 at 5:30 PM MDT
Venue: Ramblewood Stadium--Charlotte, North Carolina