Crunch time has officially hit the Charlotte Independence as they are down to their final five matches of their inaugural USL season and they hit a brutal part of their schedule: two matches in three days.
Charlotte plays at Wilmington Hammerheads FC tonight and this becomes a must win for the Independence if they want to continue their push for the playoffs.
The goal for Charlotte is simple: win
The Eastern Conference Table:
|Louisville City FC||48||25||14||5||6|
|New York Red Bulls II||39||25||11||8||6|
|Harrisburg City Islanders||34||24||10||10||4|
|Saint Louis FC||26||25||6||11||8|
|Toronto FC II||19||23||5||14||4|
|Wilmington Hammerheads FC||16||24||3||14||7|
What to Watch For:
1) Winnable Matches: There is no real way to sugar coat this one, but the Hammerheads are bad. You can see the Eastern Conference table and gather that one. This is a match that Charlotte absolutely can and should win. A victory tonight really could put them in the drivers seat for a playoff spot.
2) A Shade of Burgundy: The USL-MLS partnership is working well and the Independence fortunes will be aided by a contingent of Colorado Rapids players. John Berner and Caleb Calvert have been there all year along with Carlos Alvarez who has spent large portions of time in Charlotte. A Marlon Hairston was sent back to Charlotte for his second stint with the team which makes it clear that if the Independence do make the playoffs, a lot of it will have to do with the help that the Rapids loanees are providing.
Referee: Russell Davis
Assistant Referees: Jude Carr and Michael Gregory
Fourth Official: Jeremy Smith
How to Watch:
Match Date/Time: Thursday, September 3 at 5:00 PM MDT
Venue: Legion Stadium-Wilmington, North Carolina