Saturday, August 18, 2012
WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Charlotte Eagles ended the Wilmington Hammerheads undefeated home record in USL PRO as Devon Grousis' early second-half goal gave his side a 1-0 victory on Saturday night at Legion Stadium. The Eagles moved into fifth place in the USL PRO standings with the victory, and now need just a point in the second game of the weekend's home-and-home series to clinch a place in the USL PRO Playoffs.
The Hammerheads would have earned a berth in the playoffs with a victory, and in a tight game between the North Carolina rivals both the Hammerheads and the Eagles controlled their ends of the pitch at the start of the game. Hammerheads forward Cody Arnoux just missed finding the back of the net on a header as both teams remained scoreless leading into halftime. After midfielder Bryce Taylor outplayed Eagles defender Mark Bloom down the wing, he moved the play to fellow teammate Charles Rodriguez, who sent a long ball to the far post just skimming Arnoux's head and into Charlotte goalkeeper Eric Reed's hands.
The Eagles came flying out of the locker room following the halftime break, and opened the scoring in the 47th minute by Grousis, who headed home his second goal of the season off a free kick by Chris Salvaggione. The Hammerheads responded not long after with back-to-back shots by Mark Briggs and Corey Hertzog, each hoping to set the score even, but both were denied as the Eagles maintained their advantage.
The Hammerheads continued to press late on, earning numerous corner kicks, but the back of the net remained motionless as no-one could find a shot that could penetrate the Eagles' defense. With only stoppage-time remaining, the Hammerheads got one final chance from a free kick just outside the penalty area, but Hagop Chirishian's shot went just right of the goal, ending the Hammerheads' chances of a point.
The Hammerheads will hit the road for their final game of the season on Sunday night as they face the Eagles at Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex in Rock Hill, S.C., just south of Charlotte. With Eagles will clinch a place in the playoffs with either a win or a draw, while the Hammerheads will need to take victory to guarantee their place in the playoffs.
For more information, please contact the Wilmington Hammerheads at (910) 777-2111 or visit our website at www.wilmingtonhammerheads.com.