Maybe it was just one goal the Charlotte 49ers needed to shake off a five-game winless streak and a slow start to their Conference USA schedule.
Maybe what they needed was an own goal scored by the other team.
A cross by Giuseppe Gentile midway through the 47th minute ended up going off a Kentucky player and into the net, the only tally in an important 1-0 win for the Niners (5-5-3, 1-3-2 C-USA) at Transamerica Field on Saturday night, their first conference win of the season. It capped a strong defensive performance by Charlotte that saw them only allow seven shots–with keeper Klay Davis only forced to make two saves.
Offensively, the Niners were firing. They took six shots in the first half and seven in the 2nd, six of them on goal, but were stymied by an outstanding six-save performance by Wildcats goalkeeper Callum Irving. But his team’s own goal washed out what was a dominant performance in net.
The win provided a boost to the Niners’ C-USA tournament hopes. With the win, they picked up a gigantic three points to put their total at five and leapfrogged the Wildcats, FAU and FIU (who suffered losses today) in the league standings to take sole possession of 6th.
Charlotte takes a break from conference play on Tuesday as they welcome #9 Clemson to Transamerica Field. They’ll wrap up their regular season league schedule at FAU (October 30), at home against Marshall on Senior Night (November 2) and at FIU (November 8).