Charlotte’s Brandt Bronico and Kyle Parker led the way Friday night, scoring early in the match propelling the 49ers to a shutout win over no. 22 South Carolina. The win moved the Charlotte 49ers to the top of C-USA men’s soccer standings.
“Our back four and Austin Pack were incredible,” Charlotte 49ers head coach Kevin Langan said. “They dealt with a lot of balls in there and I thought we got the win based on how well we moved the ball and flowed in the first half. Was a complete joint effort.”
The 49ers took it to the Gamecocks very early, scoring within the first three minutes of the match. Charlotte moved down the field quickly and won a free-kick 25 yards away from goal. Bronico stood four steps behind the ball before running up and curling it past South Carolina goalkeeper William Pyle. Bronico has now scored five goals on the year and tallies 13 for his career.
In the 21st minute, Parker doubled the 49ers lead. Charlotte barreled down the right side of the field. A cross was sent in to Parker who was waiting near the penalty spot. 49ers’ striker Hans Honer dummied the ball leaving Parker with a goal-scoring opportunity. Parker’s first shot was saved by Pyle but Parker collected and smashed the rebound into the side-netting.
Parker’s excellent run-of-form continues as he has now scored five goals in the last four games. Parker’s eighth goal of the season was also the 30th of his career.
As impressive as Charlotte’s offense has been, the defense has been equally dominant, led by senior captain Luke Waechter. In Charlotte’s 4-game win streak, the 49ers have scored 12 goals while only allowing one.
“The thing is we defend from the front. They’re winning the ball in great areas and going forward pretty fast and breaking quickly. We’re finishing our chances and finishing unbelievably. We’re getting teams camped in their half and playing around them. We’re getting a lot of shot and crosses and thats big for us.”
Throughout 90 minutes, the 49ers tormented the Gamecocks offensively, recording 18 shots while crossing in six corner kicks. Conor Agnew orchestrated the 49ers offense, tallying three shots while also feeding his teammates passes which led to many goal-scoring opportunities.
“I just try to work hard and make opportunities for other players. Definitely worked out today.”
With the win, the 49ers move that much closer to the end of the regular season and into the C-USA tournament which will be played in Charlotte this year.
“We’re super excited to play here. Its a great home advantage, a beautiful field. The guys love playing in front of Niner Nation. To be honest I haven’t even looked at the standings. We just want to play each game and enjoy each game,” Langan said. “Im not lying when I said I haven’t looked at the standings.”
The 49ers will hit the road early next week for conference matchup with New Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m.