Before the match began, seniors Sean Bowman, Banks Fisher, Marco Sunol-Rojas and Zhuvonte Wilson were honored for their senior night. Less than four minutes after coming into the game, Ryan Spaulding scored his second goal of the season in the 30th minute of play for Charlotte’s only goal of the game. After 110 minutes of play, the game would end in a 1-1 tie between C-USA teams South Carolina (4-8-2, 0-4-2 C-USA) and Charlotte (5-4-4, 2-1-3 C-USA).
A quick turn-around in intensity of play for Charlotte led to much more aggressive competition from both teams. Before the second half the 49ers would take two more shots including a header by Callum Montogmery sent just over the goal to match the Gamecocks with three shots each in the first half.
“We started the game so flat. It kind of shocked me a little bit because we haven’t done that,” Charlotte Coach Kevin Langan said. “We managed to turn it around, we got a goal before half time. Second half, I thought we played extremely well. We forced their goalie into numerous saves, just couldn’t get that second goal.”
An early shot attempt by Daniel Bruce in the second half went high to miss the net and a second by a header from Bruce just in front of the goalkeeper would be saved by Gamecock William Pyle.
Spaulding’s third career goal was not enough for Charlotte to end regulation with a win. Going into the last five minutes of the second half, the 49ers led the game in corners 6-5 and in shots 11-4.
In the 86th minute of play Luca Mayr would take a corner to give Peyton Ericson a goal to bring South Carolina to a tie with the Niners at 1-1.
Both Spaulding and Joe Brito would each have another attempt at a second Charlotte goal in the last two minutes of the half only to end regulation time with Bruce putting up quite the fight within the last minute in the box to help his team get a win.
The Niners had a tough defensive front, holding the Gamecocks to three shots in the first half and only two in the second. Elliot Panicco had a beautiful diving save in the 25th minute of the match to hinder South Carolina’s Mayr from scoring.
Charlotte led 17-10 in shots by the game’s end and through their tremendous offensive effort, Brito led the team with four shots, Bruce with three and Spaulding, Teddy Chaouche and Callum Montgomery each with two shots. Fernando Garcia, Tommy Madden and Noah Seach also each took a single shot.
Unluckily, the Charlotte 49ers’ 17 shots produced only a single goal and would secure no more than a tie with the South Carolina Gamecocks.
“All in all, a really disappointing night for us. I think we’re good enough, I think we’ve got a really, really good team. I think we’ve got all the pieces we need, but there has to be an urgency to our play now. The season’s coming to an end, so we’ve got to start playing with that playoff soccer mentality, leave it all on the field and take care of business. Tonight, hopefully we learned a big lesson,” Langan said.
Charlotte’s last non-conference home game will be played Tuesday night, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Transamerica field against Georgia State.