ORLANDO (F.L.) — In the first away fixture of the Jack’s season, the Charlotte Independence (0-1-1) played Orlando City B (1-1-2) to a 1-1 draw on Saturday night. Independence midfielder Lewis Hilton gave Charlotte the lead in the 60th minute, but Orlando forward Albert Dikwa equalized in the 70th minute.
Charlotte created the majority of the opportunities in the first half. In the 23rd minute, defender Joel Johnson picked out midfielder Alex Martinez who headed the cross forcing a Earl Edwards Jr. save. Moments later midfielder Yann Ekra deflected a dangerous ball put in by forward Casey Townsend, but the attempt sailed over the Orlando crossbar.
“I thought it was very sloppy on our end, especially the first half,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “We had a hard time connecting passes and really doing the things that we like to do.”
After a scoreless half, Charlotte carried their momentum to the second 45 minutes. The Independence struck first in the 60th minute on a Lewis Hilton shot from a tight angle inside the 18 yard-box. Midfielder Alex Martinez assisted the goal.
However, Orlando built an attack with midfielder Scott Thomsen dribbling down the right side of the Charlotte defending third. From close range, forward Albert Dikwa finished a Thomsen cross to equalize in the 70th minute for the final score of the game.
“At the end we had some good chances,” said Jeffries. “The goalkeeper makes some good plays and we don’t finish as well as we should’ve. We walk away a little disappointed not to end up with the three points.”
After two games in the United Soccer League regular season, Charlotte has one point. The Independence will next play this Saturday, April 15th at Eagle Field on the campus of Winthrop University at 7:00 PM. For more information on ticketing, please visit charlotteindependence.com.
Story by James Thomas