1-1 Draw for Charlottetowne Hops FC and Georgia Storm

By Charlottetowne Hops FC

Charlottetowne Hops FC welcomed Georgia Storm to the Charlotte Soccer Academy OrthoCarolina Sportsplex on Sunday, June 4th as the two clubs faced off for the first time in their history.  Both teams were coming into the match on a bad run of form with the Storm winless on the season and the Hops carrying a two-match winless streak into the affair.

The match got off to a fast start for the home side as midfielder Jamie Diluzio, returning from an injury that had kept him out of action since the club’s home opener a few weeks ago, found the back of the net in the 7th minute to give his side the lead.  Fullback Eli Pilcher began the buildup, swinging the ball out wide to winger Gabi Lopes who struck a hard cross into the box. Storm goalkeeper Robert Bailey knocked the cross away, but it fell to Diluzio, who took a touch to his left and knocked it past Bailey to give the Hops the early lead.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as the visitors answered just two minutes later.  Wingback Renan Mathias took the ball on the left-hand side for the Storm and then switched the play to the middle of the park for midfielder Mauro Gutierrez.  He placed the ball into the lower left corner past Hops keeper Carter Nunnery to even the score in the 9th minute.

The remainder of the second half was a fairly back-and-forth affair, but the Hops maintained the bulk of the possession and had a few excellent opportunities for winger David Imbert by way of crosses from Pilcher and Lopes.  However, the Frenchman was unable to give Charlottetowne the lead, often due to excellent work by Bailey in goal for the Storm.  The half ended with the score knotted up at 1-1.

The second half kickoff saw the Hops jump back on the attack, leading to some early shots on goal from the likes of Imbert, Lopes, and Diluzio, but Bailey remained up for the challenge.  And despite having most of the ball, the home side was unable to find the winner in the early stages. The Storm made a flurry of changes which led to a few more opportunities for them, but those were also for naught, although they never really tested Nunnery in goal for Charlottetowne.

Late in the second half, the Storm goalkeeper cemented his Man of the Match performance by saving not one, but two Hops’ shots off the goal line, both seemingly off his fingertips, to deny Charlottetowne a late winner.  The final stages of the match brought out frustration for both sides, as a fairly tame match ended with three yellow cards in the final ten minutes: two for the visiting Storm and one for the Hops.

While both teams fought valiantly to the end, the match came to a close after two minutes of stoppage time with the score still square at 1-1 and both teams sharing a much-needed point. That result sees both teams holding in their positions at the bottom of the NPSL’s Southeastern Conference, with the Hops sitting just three points behind fourth place 865 Alliance for that final playoff spot. 

Charlottetowne will be on the road for its next two matches, heading to Knoxville to take on that 865 Alliance team, who they beat 3-1 in the Hops’ inaugural home match, this coming Saturday. They’ll then travel to Boone, NC on June 17 to take on Appalachian FC, who currently sit four points clear of the Hops and in third place in the conference.  Charlottetowne’s next home match will be Sunday, June 25 against that same Appalachian FC club.  

This will clearly be a pivotal run of games for Charlottetowne if they hope to make a run at the NPSL playoffs this season.

Photo Credit: CJ Hellner 


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