New England Soccer Today

11 Things to Know about the Charlotte Independence

Photo credit: Charlotte Independence

Photo credit: Charlotte Independence

On Wednesday, the Revolution will meet the USL’s Charlotte Independence for the very first time in a fourth-round U.S. Open Cup clash at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium on the Harvard University campus.

Here are 11 things to know about the Independence:

1. They have a pair of players on the roster with Revolution connections. Midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo, who spent the 2014 preseason with the locals, has started nine of nine games this season. DelPiccolo was also a college teammate of Revolution right back Andrew Farrell at Louisville.  Defender Bilal Duckett, who played one game for the Revolution in between loan spells to the Rhinos in 2013, has started seven of eight games this year.

2. They pulled off an upset to advance to the fourth round. After matching wits with the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks for 80 minutes, the Independence broke through on an 81st minute Ryan Finley goal to eliminate the second-division squad on their home pitch in Cary, N.C.

3. They’re a brand new outfit. The Independence ownership group bought the USL franchise rights for the Charlotte market, which formerly belonged to league mainstay Charlotte Eagles, last summer. The Eagles now play in PDL.

4. They’re affiliated with the Colorado Rapids. And it’s turned out to be a fairly beneficial affiliation, at that. To date, the Rapids have sent promising players like Marlon Hairston and Carlos Alvarez (formerly of UConn) to the Tar Heel state for loan spells.

5. They’re going through the usual expansion side growing pains. At 3-4-3 (12 points) they’ll enter Wednesday’s contest ninth in the Eastern Conference.

6. Despite some of the expected struggles, they have a few promising players. Attacking midfielder Jorge Herrera is the team’s most dangerous option on offense (3 goals, 3 assists), while Finley (3 goals, 1 assist) is a constant threat. At 6-6, defender Patrick Slogic (2 goals) poses a fierce threat in the air.

7. They’re coming into Wednesday’s match on a high note. In their last match, they beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-1. Alvarez and Herrera did the damage for the Independence.

8.  Charlotte has long been a soccer-mad city. There’s a good reason why Charlotte has been seen as a potential host city for an MLS expansion side. The city, and its surrounding communities, have hosted a number of successful professional and semi-professional sides. Prior to the arrival of the Independence, the city hosted the aforementioned Charlotte Eagles, which was founded in 1991.

9. The Independence ownership group has MLS ambitions. In a Jun. 10 report on, club founder Jim McPhilliamy said that he’s looked at how Orlando City – once a USL power – was able to start off the lower-divisions and eventually build itself up as a successful candidate for MLS expansion. “That’s totally the model,” McPhilliamy told “I think that’s exactly the model we’re trying to do.”

10. They’re nomads for the time being. The squad has played its home matches the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and Winthrop University. They were supposed to play Saturday’s game at Ramblewood Soccer Complex, but the venue hadn’t yet received the requisite approval from local building officials.

11. They’re holding a vote on Twitter for the “official” hashtag for Wednesday’s match. Since the fourth round clash will pit them against another side with a Revolutionary War-inspired moniker, the team’s social media team is looking for a creative designation for the gameday hashtag. Among them: #FreedomFixture and #DeclarationDerby.

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