Report: Charlotte Eagles 8- Real Maryland 0
The first placed Charlotte Eagles ran rampant as they cruised to an 8-0 victory with a master class performance over Real Maryland at Restart Field at Charlotte Christian High School.
Real Maryland started the opening exchanges brightly, keeping possession and playing with purpose. The Monarchs created the games first chance when Ronald Cerritos and Nilson Perez combined to spring Cerritos down the wing. The Salvadorian cut in on net, but shot tamely at the Eagles keeper.
The Monarchs promising start promptly evaporated as they fell behind after only 10 minutes, the Eagles converting their first genuine opportunity of the match. Jorge Herrera got the ball to the end-line and cut it back for Dustin Swinehart to pass in his 14th goal of the campaign.
From that point on, the Eagles were in a different class for the remainder of the match. Real Maryland barley saw the ball again.
Swinehart and Herrera were at it again minutes later. This time Swinehart looked to turn provider as he darted into the box and sent a cross to Herrera who was left all alone at the far corner of the box. The Colombian let fly with a one time volley that cannoned off the crossbar.
Emilio Zelaya then went down with a knee injury under a challenge from Rob Ssejjemba following a risky back pass. Zelaya made it through the remainder of the half, but could not carry on and was replaced by Oscar Araujo at halftime.
Ten minutes before half, Monarchs defender Marcos Chantel conceded a free kick 35 yards from goal. Josh Rife swung the ball into the mix in the center of the box. Herrera flicked the ball on to Jona Long at the far post. The midfielder did well to make contact, but sailed his effort over the bar.
Just as last night against Wilmington, Real Maryland gave up a goal in first half stoppage time and once again conceded on the counter attack. This, however, was a counter attack of the highest quality, a sweeping end to end move that took a total of 15 seconds.
Following a cross by Cerritos, Ben Johnson cleared the ball out of the box to Herrera on the wing. The USL-2 Player of the Week sprinted past the halfway line and sent a perfectly weighted through-ball to Swinehart running through the heart of the Monarchs defense. Swinehart took one touch to settle and another to slide the ball past the onrushing Zelaya.
The bad end to the first half led to an even worse start to the second as the Eagles scored off the kickoff. Joseph Kabwe attacked down the left flank and sent in a low hard ball that took a wicked deflection off Stephen Basso and looped over Araujo into the net. Kabwe was credited with the goal although it could be argued that an own goal should have been awarded.
The goal was harsh on Araujo who could do nothing to prevent conceding his first goal in his first minute of professional action.
Charlotte went four up in the 52nd minute. Real Maryland lost possession in the midfield and Kabwe and Ssejjemba set off on a two-on-one. Kawbe slid the ball into Ssejjemba who finished confidently.
Three minutes later, Herrera recorded his third assist of the night when he sent a pinpoint cross for Kawbe to hammer home from close range.
Real Maryland new boy Dia Hunte almost scored a consolation goal when he weaved his way through the Charlotte defense and fired a blistering shot that beat Charlotte keeper Terry Boss but flew just wide of the far post.
Charlotte extended their lead to six-nil on the hour mark as Ssejjemba struck his second of the night. Only a minute after coming onto the field, Patrick Daka ran free through the center of the park and slid the ball to Ssejjemba who took one touch before slamming past Araujo.
Charlotte converted its seventh goal in the 77th minute. The Eagles outwitted the Monarchs offsides trap and walked in four on zero as the Real Maryland players complained to the refs. Herrera slid the ball over for substitute Daka to finish with an easy tap in.
The eighth goal came seven minutes from time. Herrera was at the fore once again as he sent in yet another cross to be headed home. Substitute Gustavo Bentos doing the honors.
Herrera finished the game with five assist.
Referee Francisco Risso did not bother with extra time, blowing his whistle in the 90th minute to prevent Real Maryland from the possibility of any further misery.
The Monarchs have no choice but to pick their heads up as they prepare for a Wednesday night clash with the Bermuda Hogges in their final home game of the season.
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