Two games and two tough results in the space of four days for the Rapids’ USL affiliate, Charlotte Independence, as they slipped further in the Eastern Conference standings and stretched their winless streak to seven games.
Andrew Dykstra, Sam Vines, and Caleb Calvertstarted both encounters - a 3-0 home loss to Louisville City FC last Wednesday, followed by a 6-2 reversal at North Carolina FC on Saturday. Ricardo Perez, the fourth Rapids player on loan at the Independence, came off the bench in both.
The one bright spot was a third career assist for Vines, as the Independence initially took the lead at their rivals, only for North Carolina to respond with vigor.
Charlotte return home this coming weekend with a game against Nashville SC, who themselves have dropped out of the playoff places in recent weeks.
No such trouble for Phoenix Rising, as they won their two most recent matches by the same 4-0 scoreline to make it three wins and three clean sheets in a row. First they saw off San Antonio FC last Wednesday with ease, despite finishing the game with 10 men, before overcoming a stubborn Colorado Springs Switchbacks. Mike da Fontewas not in the 18 for the first game, and was an unused sub for the Switchbacks encounter.
The Switchbacks - with on-loan midfielder Sam Hamiltonamong their starters - struggled as soon as Jordan Burt was dismissed on 65 minutes. Just three minutes later the first of four goals were converted. They now sit six points outside of the playoff places in the Western Conference, and face the leaders Real Monarchs SLC on Wednesday at home.