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March To The Match: Charlotte Independence

WHO: Charlotte Independence (4-5-4), 16 points, 9th in Eastern Conference

WHAT: A revenge-themed USL match! Or maybe a Celebrity Death Match, just without the celebrities. Or the death. Or Mills Lane.

WHEN: Saturday, July 11, 2015, 7:30 p.m. EDT

WHERE: Louisville Slugger Field

WATCH: With a new friend that hasn’t been to a game before! We managed to exceed Slugger’s soccer capacity at the last game, so let’s try to do it again. If you can’t make it because a medical doctor told you you should’t be outside at all ever, then you can watch on YouTube here:

WHO, AGAIN? Charlotte Independence, you’ll recall, handed Louisville City its first ever loss, a 1-0 decision at one of the various and sundry home stadia the Independence have played at this year, both in and outside of the borders of North Carolina. Patrick Slogic notched a header in the 65th minute to beat a less than 100% Louisville City team that was on a five game unbeaten streak going into the game, while Charlotte was winless in its inaugural season up to that point. City didn’t really play well enough to win the game, as O’Connor only brought 15 players to the match in the first place. City outshot Charlotte 18-15 and doubled the Independence’s shots on goal, but it was a poor performance and Charlotte got to finally give Jack’s Militia something to celebrate about besides finally figuring out where the Independence would play that day.

Since that time, Charlotte’s been on an up and down ride through their USL schedule, having gone L-W-W-D-L in their last five league games. That said, the Independence were the only USL team to make it past the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup, beating New England in the fourth round and then losing to the Chicago Fire in the fifth round last week. They’ve also had some roster turnover, as Marlon Hairston was recalled back to their affiliate, the Colorado Rapids, and John Berner, the Rapids loanee who was in goal against Louisville City back in May, seems to have been replaced by Matt Lampson, who gave up two goals to St. Louis last week. So he can’t be that good. Finally, the Rapids just loaned Charlotte a young striker named Dominique Badji, who started six games for the Rapids this year but has since found his way out of Pablo Mastroeni’s plans. Assuming he has any plans, anyway. Colorado is bad. At soccer, I mean.

From a player personnel standpoint, we can expect to see weekly USL Best XI candidate Jorge Herrera, along with Andrew Ribeiro in the attack, and Patrick Slogic and Paolo Del Piccolo in defense. Charlotte doesn’t score a lot, so their leading goal scorer, Ryan Finley, only has four tallies on the season. The entire team’s shot percentage is less than 9, which is pretty bad. Also keep in mind Charlotte has yet to win an away game in five tries. Let’s not permit them another first on Saturday, shall we?


Purple Drank You Jackin’ It?
Goals For 29 15
Goals Against 14 17
Shots Bourbon Not beer, that’s for sure
Shot % 14.1 8.9
TSR 0.606 0.585
Meaningless Declarations of Independence 0 2

THE ACTUAL MARCH TO THE MATCH: Thanks to the horrible fire that burned up a good chunk of Whiskey Row on Monday, the Coopers are moving their start point for the March to the Match to Goodwood Brewing Co. at the corner of Main and Clay. It’s local beer, so come on by and have a few! Pints are $3 before kickoff! Or, if walking with your legs and singing on the public roadways isn’t your thing, Against the Grain will be happy to have you, too. We’ll definitely be there after the match in case you just get stuck there. Join us!

PREDICTION TIME: Lauren Conrad’s been on a roll, and I don’t have much reason to believe it won’t continue. Louisville City 2-0 Charlotte Independence.