For the second game in a row, Charlotte Independence finished a game with 10 men, but for a franchise record-equaling 12th game in a row they went undefeated in a 2-2 tie at Toronto FC II on Wednesday night.
The night could have been even better for the Rapids’ USL affiliate, were it not for a stoppage-time leveler for Toronto, though the result was enough to extend Charlotte’s lead at the top of the Eastern Conference to three points, and they still have a game in hand on both Charleston Battery and Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Toronto took the lead just moments after the interval through Jordan Hamilton. The home side’s goalkeeper, Mark Pais, put into his own net for the Independence’s first of the night on 62 minutes. Celebrations were short-lived, as Donnie Smith was given his marching orders three minutes later.
The Independence were without Enzo Martinez for the game. The scorer of a hat-trick in last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Louisville City FC was dismissed in that contest for two bookable offenses.
Even playing a man down, Mike Jeffries’ side were still able to take the lead. Jaime Siaj, selected by the Rapids in the 2017 MLS draft, converted with 11 minutes remaining. Closing in on victory, the Independence were denied all three points when Hamilton grabbed his second of the night with seconds remaining.
The Independence are again on the road for their next encounter. They travel to Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday, with Martinez available again after suspension. Their next home game is on August 16 against Bethlehem Steel.