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Charlotte Rallies Past Harrisburg

04/02/2016, 9:00pm EDT
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After early deficit, Calvert and Estrada score back-to-back as Independence earn first win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Independence’s Caleb Calvert and David Estrada each scored a first-half goal and the Independence rallied from an early deficit to post a 2-1 victory on Saturday at the Ramblewood Soccer Complex.

The Independence earned their first win of the season, moving to 1-1-0 (3 points) and rebounding from a hearbreaking 1-0 loss to Louisville City FC the previous week. Harrisburg dropped to 0-2-0 (0 points).

Harrisburg’s Craig Foster wasted no time getting the City Islanders on the score sheet as his aggressiveness, combined with some lackluster defending by Charlotte, allowed Foster to tally unassisted in just the third minute. Foster worked the ball quickly from the left of the 18-yard box and fired a right-footed shot into the lower left of the frame for a 1-0 lead.

Charlotte almost responded with the equalizer in the 11th minute. Former Islander Yann Ekra won the ball back in the midfield for the Independence and led Herrera down the left. Herrera eluded Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble who had rushed off his line to try and intercept toward the top of the box. When Herrera finally pulled the trigger, Noble tracked back just in time to stretch to make the save as his defense then cleared.

Noble came up big again in the 19th minute when Herrera tried to volley in a cross from the right at point-blank range. Noble had an amazing reaction save to keep Charlotte off the score sheet.

Charlotte was finally rewarded with its offensive push in the 22nd minute with Calvert’s header to tie the score at 1-1. Calvert, on loan from the Colorado Rapids, was set up by Bilal Duckett who crossed in from the right as the Independence did a good job of keeping the ball in the offensive third shortly after Herrera’s original corner kick.

The Independence gained their first lead of the season on a 33rd-minute counter attack. Harrisburg’s Jose Barril had the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box when he was intercepted by Jack Metcalf and got things going the other way. Herrera dished from midfield to Estrada running down the right side. He worked the ball in and shot low to the far left as his shot ricocheted off the inside of the left post and crossed into the net for a 2-1 advantage.

Both teams had a high-percentage chance in the closing minutes before halftime. In the 44th minute, the Independence intercepted from Barril and Ekra shot to the left, forcing Noble into a diving save to his right to maintain a one-goal deficit. Then on a Harrisburg set piece opportunity in stoppage time, Independence goalkeeper Cody Mizell punched away a dangerous header from Jamie Thomas that bounced into the ground and was headed toward the far right post.

In the 53rd minute, Herrera had another strong scoring chance when he was briefly one-on-one against Noble at the top of the box, but once again Noble won the battle and turned the shot away.

Mizell responded with a stop on Harrisburg forward Paul Wilson who tried to sneak his shot in the near post in the 56th minute.

Charlotte had one good chance in the final 10 minutes to put the match away for good when Enzo Martinez shot from 18 yards out, but he fired just above the crossbar in the 82nd minute.

Harrisburg second-half sub Cardel Benbow had perhaps the best final opportunity in stoppage time to find an equalizer, but his shot was pushed just wide left.

Upcoming Games:

  • April 9: Charlotte Independence at FC Cincinnati; Nippert Stadium, 7 p.m. ET

  • April 9: Harrisburg City Islanders at Pittsburgh Riverhounds; Highmark Stadium, 7 p.m. ET Man of the Match
David Estrada, Charlotte Independence: Estrada completed Charlotte's rally with the game-winning goal as the Independence garnered their first win of the season.

Tag(s): Harrisburg City Islanders Charlotte Independence Game Reports

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