Charlotte, NC – Saint Louis FC suffered a 5-1 loss away to the Charlotte Independence in front of 1,637 in Week 16 of the USL Regular Season. The team will return home to face the first-placed Charleston Battery on Saturday, July 15th at 7:30 pm CT.
Charlotte opened the scoring in the 14th minute through Jorge Herrera who added goals in the 30th and 61st minutes to complete his hat trick. Enzo Martinez and Bilal Duckett added individual goals in the 38th and 79th minutes, respectively, to round out the scoring for the home side. Saint Louis FC found a consolation goal through Octavio Guzman in the 56th minute but see their efforts fall short as the club moves down to 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
The first half started as a back-and-forth affair with both teams taking advantage of early shooting opportunities before Charlotte found the opener in the 14th minute as Herrera pounced on the rebounded save from STLFC goalkeeper Devala Gorrick. Herrera claimed his second of the night in the 30th minute as his initial effort was saved but he was able to turn in the follow-up. Martinez, who scored both goals in the previous meeting on April 22nd, added to STLFC's woes with a shot from the right side of the box that bounced under Gorrick to take a 3-0 lead into halftime.
The second half saw Saint Louis FC get back into the game with a goal from Guzman at the near post following Matt Sheldon's cross from the right in the 57th minute. Charlotte would soon respond, however, as Sheldon took down Callum Ross in the box to award Charlotte a penalty kick. Herrera stepped up and buried the penalty in the 61st minute to complete the first Charlotte Independence hat trick in club history. Herrera then turned provider in the 78th minute as his free kick found the head of club captain Duckett to make the score 5-1. Saint Louis FC would finish the game with 10-men as second-half substitute Emir Alihodzic was shown a straight red card in the 84th minute for violent conduct.