Charlotte Independence came off second best to two of the top teams in the USL’s Eastern Conference over the past week, with defeat at both runaway leaders FC Cincinnati and then Louisville City.
The Rapids’ USL affiliate were beaten 2-0 at Cincinnati last Wednesday, before succumbing 4-1 at Louisville Slugger Field on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, on loan from the Rapids, played at Cincinnati, but was an unused sub for the following game. Sam Vines, a Rapids Homegrown product, came off the bench for the final nine minutes in Cincinnati, then went the distance at Louisville. Ricardo Perez was in the gameday roster for both games.
Back-to-back defeats, coupled with results elsewhere, meant that the Independence slipped out of the playoff places. They sit ninth, one spot below the playoff line, but are level on points with the two teams above them.
They return home on Saturday to play Penn FC, one of three teams below within a win of skipping ahead of them.
Things are equally tight around the playoff line in the Western Conference. Colorado Springs Switchbacks were able to cling on to the eighth and final playoff place with a come-from-behind 4-2 home win over Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Saturday.
Kip Colvey played the entire game, as the Switchbacks gained ground on the three teams above. The three teams below them also won, including San Antonio FC. The Switchbacks head to San Antonio on Wednesday, with two places and three points separating them.
Phoenix Rising FC, with Mike da Fonte on duty, put the blip of the 4-0 loss at Fresno FC behind them by beating Seattle Sounders FC 2 last Friday night. With Orange County SC held 2-2 at Saint Louis FC, Phoenix moved back to second. They also edged to within three points of leaders Real Monarchs SLC, who lost 4-2 at San Antonio FC the following night.
The top two in the West meet on Saturday, with Phoenix at Real Monarchs. Victory would put Phoenix level on points, but Monarchs would remain in first place due to more games won.