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Independence wins at home, hands Rhinos 1st loss of USL season

The Charlotte Independence managed to do something Saturday no other team had done against the Rochester Rhinos this season – win.

Behind Tomacz Zahorski and Carlos Alvarez, the Independence beat the Rhinos 4-2 for a United Soccer League Pro division win at Ramblewood Stadium.

Zahorski and Alvarez each scored a goal and assisted on a second for Charlotte (6-6-5, 23 points), which posted a season best in scoring.

Rochester (12-1-7, 43 points) suffered its first loss.

Enzo Martinez and Alex Martinez also scored for the Independence, whose previous season best scoring game came against the Richmond Kickers, a 3-0 victory on May 8.

Saturday’s win was the first time this season the Rhinos had given up more than a goal. They had allowed six goals in their 19 previous games.

The win also gave Charlotte a much-needed three points in the USL Pro standings, moving the Independence to eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, two points behind Harrisburg(25 points).

Grant Van De Casteele and Christian Volesky scored for Rochester.

Van De Casteele’s deflection of teammate Jonny Mendoza’s corner kick had put the Rhinos ahead at the 32nd minute, but Alex Martinez and Zahorski scored in a four-minute span between the 34th and 38th minute to put the Independence ahead to stay.


“We had one of those nights that we’ve been sorta waiting for this season. We really felt like we created chances in a number of games, and just haven’t gotten the finishes quite right. Today, those first three (goals) were just excellent finishes. We felt like we could create chances against them, but I didn’t think we could get four (goals).” – Charlotte coach Mike Jeffries.

Worth mentioning

There were five yellow cards – three against the Rhinos. Michael Garzi, Pat McMahon and Tony Walls were called for Rochester, while Alex Martinez and Zahorski were called for the Independence.

What’s next?

The Independence will host the New York Red Bulls II – the sister team of Major League Soccer’s Red Bulls – in the first of back-to-back games at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ramblewood Stadium. Charlotte then travels to New York for the rematch on Aug. 12.

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