It took 110 minutes and double overtime to decide the outcome of this in-state match-up. The fifth-ranked Charlotte 49ers (11-2-2, 6-1-0 C-USA) finished their final regular season home game against Appalachian State (5-7-4) with a 1-1 draw.
Appalachian State opened the game off in a heavy attack, pressuring Charlotte’s defense early in the match. The Mountaineers created numerous chances, yet failed to capitalize during the first period.
“I thought we didn’t start well enough,” Charlotte head coach Kevin Langan said. “They came in and were very physical and we didn’t match that physicality, which isn’t like us. We had enough chances to win five or six games tonight, but for one reason or not, the ball wouldn’t drop for us.”
In the ninth minute however, redshirt sophomore Daniel Bruce redirected a header from a Sean Bowman cross to give Charlotte the lead and its lone goal of the match. The goal marked Bruce’s fourth of the season.
“In training we know what type of crosses there are,” Bruce said about his goal. “Sean [Bowman] likes to whip it in first time, so I thought he would be making that cross. I managed to get in behind the defender and flip it onward with my head and it ended up in the back of the net.”
The start of the second half proved very similar to the first with the Mountaineers continuing to pressure the Charlotte defense. They were able to capitalize off of their chances and equalize the score with a Stephen Bowman shot from 25 yards out in the 61st minute.
The 49ers created numerous chances throughout the match holding the advantage in shots 22-8 and in corner kicks, 13-5.
Each of the 49er forwards Bruce, Maclean Holbrook and Marco Sunol-Rojas had chances on goal to take the lead in the final 60 minutes but came up short.
During double overtime, Charlotte forced a heavy attack onto the Mountaineer defense with Sunol-Rojas and midfielder Maxi Rodriguez each with quality attempts on goal.
Sunol-Rojas nearly gave Charlotte the lead with a bicycle kick, but sent the acrobatic attempt just over the crossbar.
Holbrook led the 49er attack with five shots. Sunol-Rojas and midfielder Brandt Bronico each had four shots. Bruce tallied three shots and Rodriguez added two shots to the total.
Freshman goalkeeper Elliot Panicco logged three saves throughout the entire match, two of which came during the first period.
Charlotte will return to the pitch Nov. 4 to cap off the regular season against Conference USA opponent Marshall. Charlotte can secure the Conference USA title with a win or draw.