The Charlotte Independence hosts arguably the best soccer player to grace South Carolina’s Upstate Sunday night at Winthrop’s Eagle Field.
The Independence move into their new home in Matthews, N.C. later this month, but play a final game at Eagle Field against Joe Cole and the Tampa Bay Rowdies with a 7 p.m. kickoff. The 35-year old Cole joined Tampa Bay (6-3-3, 21 points) in 2016 after a hugely successful career in England. He played 56 times for the English National Team, including appearances in three World Cups, and was a key cog at Chelsea for a number of years, winning the Premier League title three times. Cole has played in nine games for the Rowdies this season, scoring three goals and assisting three more.
Charlotte (3-2-2, 11 points) is trying to overcome a slow start to the 2017 campaign that sees the club 12th out of 15 in the Eastern Conference standings. The top eight clubs make the USL postseason. But the Independence has played four fewer games than several of its counterparts positioned higher up the table and has also won three of its last four contests.
Rock Hill’s Enzo Martinez has scored a team-high four goals in five appearances, while his younger brother Alex has a pair of assists in seven matches.