Matt May/Tampa Bay Rowdies

Loan Watch: Vines and Calvert continue to see minutes, Charlotte preps for final game

Despite managing a first win in five games, while also extending their unbeaten run to seven, the Rapids’ USL affiliate, Charlotte Independence, were officially eliminated from playoff contention at the weekend.

Charlotte won 2-1 at Tampa Bay Rowdies, thereby ending the Florida club’s postseason hopes. The Independence were undone by results elsewhere, as Nashville SC won 3-0 at Richmond Kickers, 10-man New York Red Bulls II claimed victory at North Carolina FC, and Ottawa Fury FC eked out a goalless draw with Bethlehem Steel - outcomes good enough to put them beyond the reach of Mike Jeffries’ side.

Sam Vines started and played the entire game in Tampa, while Caleb Calvert went in with nine minutes remaining to replace Derek Gebhard. Goalkeepr Andrew Dykstra was an unused substitute.

Three days earlier, the Independence let slip a two-goal lead at Penn FC to tie 2-2 in a midweek affair. Both Charlotte goals came from Éamon Zayed. All four goals came before the interval, while Calvert, Dykstra, and Vines all started on the bench. Calvert replaced Kevan George in the 82nd minute.

The final game of the USL season for Charlotte Independence is home to North Carolina FC this Saturday.

Sam Hamilton played the first 45 minutes of Colorado Springs Switchbacks’ 3-0 loss at Fresno FC, who crept above them in the Western Conference with the win. The Switchbacks close out their season on Wednesday with a trip to Seattle Sounders FC 2.

Phoenix Rising slipped up in their quest to become Western Conference regular season champions, as they were held 0-0 at home by Reno 1868 FC on Saturday. Mike da Fonte played the entire match at center back.

They play their game in hand on leaders Orange County SC this Wednesday, at Las Vegas Lights FC, needing a win to draw level at the summit. The title will then go down to the final game of the season, with Phoenix home to Portland Timbers 2, while Orange County head to Reno.


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