CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Independence scored four goals in the opening 20 minutes to quickly put to bed a 5-1 victory against Loudoun United FC at American Legion Memorial Stadium on Sunday night as Enzo Martinez reached a landmark while both Brandt Bronico and Sylvain Marveaux recorded a goal and assist apiece.
The Independence didn’t take long to get on top as in just the seventh minute Gabriel Obertan latched onto a heel-flick pass by Dane Kelly that took a slight deflection off a defender and slotted home a finish into the left corner of the net. A minute later Joel Johnson notched his first goal in the Championship as he received a pass on the right from Martinez and drove past a defender before sending his shot from the top-right edge of the penalty area into the top-left corner of the net, earning Martinez his 30th career assist.
The onslaught from the hosts continued five minutes later when Bronico received a lateral pass from the left channel by Marveaux in space 25 yards from goal and unleashed a low drive that picked out the bottom-right corner of the net. Marveaux then got in on the act in the 19th minute as Bronico returned the favor, finding the French midfielder at the top-right edge of the penalty area, and as Loudoun defenders stood off Marveaux picked out the top-left corner of the net for Charlotte’s fourth.
The Independence almost added a fifth just past the half-hour mark when Marveaux floated a cross from beyond the top-left edge of the penalty area for Dane Kelly, but the Jamaican’s header went side of the right post. Kelly notched his second goal in as many games – and the 97th regular-season goal of his career – in the final minute of the half as a corner kick from the right was headed home at the near post by the Championship’s all-time leading scorer.
Loudoun came out more brightly to start the second half and in the 50th minute Gaoussou Samake delivered a cross from the left that found Houssou Landru at the far post for a shot that forced a save by Charlotte’s Austin Pack. The Independence also took their foot off the gas to an extent, as it took until the 65th minute for the hosts to register their first shot on goal after the break on a long-range effort by Martinez that was comfortable saved by United’s Jermaine Fordah.
16-year-old Jace Clark also went close for the visitors in the 66th minute as he flashed a shot just wide of the left post from the right side of the penalty area, while Fordah produced an excellent low save to keep out a free kick by Areman for Charlotte with 13 minutes to go as he curled an effort from 25 yards to the bottom-left corner. The visitors grabbed a consolation goal with 10 minutes to go as Clark recorded his first professional goal as he put away the rebound after Pack had parried Robbie Dambrot’s initial shot, and while both sides exchanged chances late on that proved the last of the scoring on another big night for the Independence’s playoff drive.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Sylvain Marveaux, Charlotte Independence – Marveaux recorded a goal and assist and completed 26 of 31 passes overall before being substituted midway through the second half in a comprehensive victory for the hosts.
CLT – Gabriel Obertan 7’
CLT – Joel Johnson (Enzo Martinez) 8’
CLT – Brandt Bronico (Sylvain Marveaux) 13’
CLT – Sylvain Marveaux (Brandt Bronico) 19’
CLT – Dane Kelly (Jake Areman) 45’
LDN – Jace Clark 80’