Eagles Top Otters in Regular Season Home Finale
Eagles Shut Out Tri-Cities FC
July 16, 2016 | by: Evan Stewart
CHARLOTTE, NC – After an hour long weather delay, the Charlotte Eagles began their final match of the season against the Tri-Cities Otters. The late start did nothing to diminish the Eagles’ energy. In the second minute, the team came within inches of putting a point on the board with a shot by Quamie Dinnall that was narrowly deflected by the inside of the cross bar.
From there, Charlotte and Tri-Cities FC fought back and forth for possession but both teams proved to be their own worst enemies in the early minutes of the game with many missed passes bringing potential scoring runs to early ends. Before any more attempts on goal could be made, a nearby lighting strike in the nineteenth minute necessitated a delay of game.
Thirty minutes later, the two teams returned to the field and picked up where they left off with a corner kick from Eagles’ midfielder Marco Micaletto. The corner was cleared but in the 24th minute, Micaletto was back with a pass to forward Santi Moar who quickly placed the ball into the bottom left corner of the Tri-Cities’ net. In the 40th minute, Santi Moar turned a one goal lead into two with another strong shot into the bottom left corner of the Otters’ goal. Tri-Cities FC had no interest in ending the half without a point on the board, turning up the pressure in the remaining minutes of the first half. But the Eagles backline held strong, keeping the score 2-0 at the end of stoppage time.
The Otters kicked off the second half. Soon after, the Eagles appeared to have regained control of possession, but a close call came in the 50th minute when Eagles goalkeeper, James Pyle, saved a shot taken in the eighteen yard box by James Smith of Tri-Cities FC. Then, a failed counterattack by the Eagles resulted in a yellow card for #99 Quamie Dinnall after he knocked over the Otter’s goalie while attempting to slow down. Dinnall made up for the foul not long after with a beautiful pass that nearly set up another goal for the Eagles.
In the 63rd minute, a penalty kick was awarded to the Eagles after a foul in the box. Tensions ran high as the head referee consulted with the assistant referee while players argued over whether or not there had been a foul. The assistant referee confirmed the call and Marco Micaletto was selected to take the shot. The Eagles’ midfield calmly slotted the ball, keeping the ball on the ground and out of the goalkeeper’s hands. The Eagles were now up 3-0.
In the 79th minute, Santi Moar just barely missed his chance at a hat trick with a shot that went wide. A corner kick from Timur Zhividze two minutes later placed the ball in the crowded Otter’s eighteen yard box, right at the feet of Juan Sanchez. Sanchez saw his chance and took it, expertly curving the ball past two defenders and the keeper for Charlotte’s fourth goal of the night. Though they were behind by four goals, the Otters’ refused to give up, forcing Eagles’ goalie Jacob Dunnett to make aggressive saves on two different occasions. But in the end, the Otters remained scoreless.
After two separate weather delays, the Charlotte Eagles at last reached the final whistle, bringing their regular season to a close with one last win and securing their second straight South Atlantic Division title.
Charlotte earned a bye for the Eastern Conference playoffs with Saturday’s win and will wait for the other teams to play of July 19th to place the other three teams. The South Atlantic Divisional Play-In game will take place between the Carolina Dynamo and SC United Bantams with the winner taking a spot in the conference semifinal opposite the Eagles.
The two other divisions, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, will play a crossover Divisional round to figure out the other two participants in the conference playoffs. Reading United, Mid-Atlantic #1 seed will host the Western Mass Pioneers, #2 seed in Northeast while GPS Portland Phoenix, #1 seed NE will play the Ocean City Nor’Easters, #2 seed MA.
Stay tuned to Charlotte Eagles social media for more playoff information!