2017.10.23 loan watch

Loan Watch: Bitter season finale for Charlotte Independence and Phoenix Rising

History repeated itself on Saturday as Charlotte Independence lost to Rochester Rhinos in the first game of the USL playoffs for the second season in a row.

They were defeated 3-1 at the same stage in 2016, before bowing out 2-1 after extra-time in the 2017 postseason meeting.

Rochester took the lead early in the second half through Jochen Graf, with Enzo Martinez equalizing for the Rapids’ USL affiliate 16 minutes later.

The scoreline remained the same through 90 minutes, forcing extra-time, during which Stefan Defregger netted the winner and Alex Martinez was sent off for a second bookable offense.

Caleb Calvert started and played 90 minutes, before being replaced by Lewis Hilton for the additional period. Academy goalkeeper Kainoa Likewise was on the bench, as was first-team defender Dennis Castillo.

Calvert ended the season with six appearances for the Independence. He started one of those six games, netting one goal. Castillo made 10 starts in his 11 appearances, and was on target twice. Likewise was a regular in the 18 but did not play any minutes.

Sam Hamilton played the first half of Phoenix Rising’s weather-delayed contest at Swope Park Rangers. Inclement conditions swept across Children’s Mercy Victory Field on Saturday, forcing the rest of the game to be completed on Sunday. The Rapids rookie was subbed out at half-time of Rising FC’s penalty shootout loss to Sporting Kansas City’s affiliate.

Level after 90 minutes, Didier Drogba gave Phoenix the lead nine minutes into extra-time, only for Amer Didic to take the dramatic encounter to spot kicks. Rising FC got off to a bad start, when Kevon Lambert failed to convert. Swope scored their first four, which was enough for victory when Ivorian Doueugui Mala missed for Phoenix. Hamilton made 14 appearances for Phoenix Rising FC, which included nine starts and one goal.

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