2018.09.24_loanwatch_CLT
Catherine Schwartz Photography

Loan Watch: Sam Vines goes the distance in Charlotte's game vs New York Red Bulls II

Charlotte Independence, the Rapids’ USL affiliate, remain in the shadows of the Eastern Conference playoffs after back-to-back 1-1 ties this past week.

They came from a goal down to take a point from Charleston Battery in their re-scheduled match last Wednesday, before giving up a tying goal in their draw with New York Red Bulls II at home on Saturday.

The Rapids’ homegrown defender Sam Vines played the last 13 minutes at Charleston, replacing James Kiffe, whereas Caleb Calvert played the entire game up top. Andrew Dykstra was an unused substitute.

Vines went the distance against the Red Bulls, while Calvert was switched out 16 minutes from time, for Jorge Herrera. Dykstra was with the first team in Columbus, having been recalled due to the absence of Zac MacMath, whose wife was giving birth to their first child.

With four games remaining, the Independence sit four spots below the playoff places, in 12th. Their final two games are against two of the sides also vying to get into the playoffs, Tampa Bay Rowdies and North Carolina. Their next game is at home to third-placed Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC this Saturday.

Elsewhere, two Rapids players faced each other on Saturday, with Sam Hamilton and Colorado Springs Switchbacks losing 2-1 at home to Phoenix Rising and Mike da Fonte.

With the loss, the Switchbacks are now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. They have three remaining games - all on the road - beginning with a trip across the Rockies to face Real Monarchs SLC on Saturday.

Phoenix Rising will be a part of the postseason. They sit second in the standings, one point behind Orange County SC, with a game in hand. They have four games to go, including three at home. They host Saint Louis FC this coming weekend.

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