CHARLOTTE, N.C. – No. 3 Memphis 901 FC (Central) fell 3-0 in its USL Championship Playoffs debut to the No. 2 Charlotte Independence (Atlantic) at American Legion Memorial Stadium Saturday evening. In a defensive slugfest, Charlotte capitalized on a trio of chances to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Charlotte found its opener in the 11’ when an error from goalkeeper Cody Cropper gave Charlotte the ball in its own box. Despite forward Alan Winn racing back to make a defensive play, Charlotte’s Joel Johnson slotted the ball into the empty net. In the 32’ Charlotte extended its lead as Christian Fuchs inched a ball just over the line despite a defensive clearance from defender Mark Segbers. Lastly, a goal from Sylvain Marveaux gave Charlotte its third goal of the evening in the 72’. There was no quit in Memphis, though, as forward Kyle Murphy slotted a ball between the legs of the Independence ‘keeper in the 81’ off a perfect Mark Segbers pass into the box.
Memphis 901 FC’s most effective season of existence ends in Charlotte, setting club records in goals (48), wins (14) and points (50). Kyle Murphy’s 81’ goal gave him 21 on the season—tied with Nashville SC’s Daniel Armando Ríos (2019) for the most goals scored in a single season in the history of professional soccer in Tennessee. The group ends the season by rewriting the Memphis 901 FC record books with a new single-season scoring leader (Murphy, 21), single-season assists leader (Dacres, 8), single-season shots leader (Murphy, 71) and single-match saves leader (Berner, 9).
“We lost to a better team,” Head Coach Ben Pirmann admitted. “They played well, and we weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be in the first 20 minutes. We made a mistake by conceding the early goal, then it was tough chasing things. Second half, we were a little bit more aggressive and we got opened up chasing things a bit. All credit to Charlotte, they’re a very good team.
“I’m so proud of this group; words don’t do it justice,” Pirmann added. “This match doesn’t change what we were able to do over these past seven months. I told the group, whether they’re here or not next season, this experience will make them better in football and in life. I’m beyond proud of this group.”
“Overall, it was a great season,” President Craig Unger said. “As a team, a lot of great individuals came together to become a great team. This group now has set the standard of what future teams will be judged by; we set records, we accomplished a lot of things, we played an entertaining style of football all year long. We should be proud of what we accomplished this year and start to prepare for what’s to come in 2022.”