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HERRERA A SEIS GOLES DE SER EL MAYOR GOLEADOR DE LA USL EN TODA SU HISTORIA

Jorge Herrera has been a staple of Charlotte soccer for the past decade, from his current two-season tenure with the Independence to his eight years with the Charlotte Eagles.

Jorge Herrera.

The 35-year-old Colombian – turning 36 this month – has had to adapt this season to an increased role off of the bench. It isn’t a glamorous task, and never something a competitive man fully embraces, but Herrera is stepping up in that capacity.

On Wednesday, Herrera tallied the game-winning free kick to lift the shorthanded Independence to a 3-2 victory against FC Cincinnati and clinch a spot in the 2016 USL Playoffs.

“I give so much credit to Jorge. He’s handled a very difficult role with incredible class and style,” Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries said. “Every time he comes on the field he steps up the level of the game and brings us a different element and I know it’s not been easy for him, but he’s done it and today is a prime example.”

The goal came several minutes after Charlotte’s Bilal Duckett picked up his second yellow card and was sent off. In the 85th minute, Herrera stepped up for a free kick above the box, it took a bit of a deflection off of Cincinnati’s Paul Nicholson and found the left side of the net to give the Independence the late one-goal advantage.

“I always like to take the extra few shots at the end of practice and I was very confident,” Herrera said. “I was trying to keep the ball on frame and was fortunate enough to get a little deflection and that was good enough to get us a win.”

That score also gave Herrera 39 career goals in the USL, moving him into third place all-time ahead of Louisville City FC’s George Davis IV and former Louisville striker Matt Fondy. Herrera now trails only the Swope Park Rangers’ Dane Kelly (45) and the Richmond Kickers’ Matthew Delicate (42).

For the season, Herrera has six goals and two assists in only 861 minutes of play. Four of those tallies have been as a reserve, and Wednesday’s was one of the biggest as the club accomplished an important step in qualifying for the postseason.

Herrera, even in diminished minutes, continues to impact matches to the fullest degree.

“I always think the role on the bench is to analyze and see what I can do if I get the chance to step onto the field and make a difference,” Herrera said. “I saw that today it was a really tight game and one of those where a set piece could be the difference, and it was.”

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