Going into the final stretch of the regular season, the Charlotte 49ers needed to grab some much needed momentum with just three games remaining on the Conference USA slate. The perfect way to do that would be a win against visiting #14 Clemson.
Kyle Parker’s two goals and Tyler Gibson’s penalty kick were part of a three-goal second half–Charlotte’s highest scoring period this season–as the Niners (6-5-3) picked up a huge win over the Tigers, 3-1 at Transamerica Field on Tuesday night, their final non-conference contest before a season-ending three game stretch against conference foes.
Clemson (9-4-2) had the better of the chances in the first half as they outshot the Niners 6-5, offset by two saves by Charlotte keeper Klay Davis. But the Niners’ offense awakened in the 59th minute with Parker’s fifth goal of the season off a rebound from a ball shot by Gibson to make it 1-0. Manolo Sanchez would knot it up at 1 in the 66th minute, but just under three minutes later, Gibson was taken down inside the box on the other end. The redshirt senior midfielder stepped up and fired a perfect strike past Tigers keeper Andrew Tarbell, his first goal of the season, to put the Niners up for good. Parker added his second a little over four minutes later to pad the lead and give his team some insurance.
The second half was a much different story than the first as Charlotte fired 11 shots to Clemson’s 5. The Niners finished the evening with a 16-11 edge in shots. Parker’s two markers give him the team lead in goals (six) and points (14).
Charlotte is off until next Wednesday when they return to C-USA action against Florida Atlantic, followed by a Senior Day contest at home against Marshall on November 2 and the season finale November 8 at FIU.