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October 21, 2012

Niners roll Rams

The Charlotte 49ers wrapped up their four-game home stand with a 6-1 triumph over the Rhode Island Rams on Sunday afternoon at Transamerica Field.

On paper this was a game the 49ers (10-2-3, 4-1-1), ranked No. 12, should win handily and they had no trouble capitalizing on the porous Rams (2-9-3, 1-3-1) backline. Early in the game the Rams muzzled Charlotte scoring opportunities as best they could, before the Niners broke free.

From the start it was obvious that Rams would have to get lucky to thwart the 49ers forwards. The 49ers has focused its attack on the long ball all year because of the exceptional speed they have up front. In just the 6th and 7th minutes alone, the Niners had five shots, warning the Rams of what was to come.

The first goal came in the 42nd minute, with a leaping header by Kyle Parker over a defender after a cross from Isaac Caughran by the top of the box, on the right sideline.

Charlotte coach Kevin Langan has made it a note all season that his team has many scoring threats, and it's become common for reserves to make a difference on the scoreboard just before half because of the team's depth. In recent games the team has toyed with its interchangeable parts on the attack, with Giuseppe Gentile, Jennings Rex, Donnie Smith, Owen Darby, and Kyle Parker; the opponent never knows who the next score will come from.

Parker, after subbing in for Gentile in the 35th, made his presence known with the first goal and an assist for the second goal only a minute later in the 43rd minute. Giving an airborne, cross-field lead pass from mid field, was Parker to Rex. Taking advantage of the much slower Rams backline, Rex out ran two defenders, pulling the keeper out of goal. Now one-on-one with the keeper, he nonchalantly snuck it past to score and end the first 45, 2-0, in favor of Charlotte.

The 49er coaching staff must have pointed out the mismatches on the field at the halftime break, because the team strolled to their tenth victory with four scores in the second half.

In the 47th, Anthony Perez scored a ten yard kick after Gentile showed short-based intricate passing tight in the box.

Gentile made the Rhode Island protection look laughable all game with ten shots, but more importantly he was creating for teammates.

Shortly after the assist to Perez, Gentile worked around a defender, en route to the right post. While going in for his shot attempt, he was taken down in the box by Rams keeper, Thomas Spenser. The Niners received a penalty kick for Gentile's efforts and Tyler Gibson easily drilled it in the right 90 for the fourth score in the 49th minute.

Although Charlotte's starting keeper Klay Davis still hasn't allowed a goal since October 5, the 49ers reserve did let one through Sunday afternoon. Austin Pack subbed in for Davis in the 62nd, after the decision was well in hand, and in the same minute, a collision between Pack and a Rhode Island forward in the box led to the Rams lone goal, by Matt Sykes, to end their streak of four straight shutouts.

Charlotte never let off the gas, knowing how quickly a team like Rhode Island could surprise them with quick scores. In the 65th minute Gentile worked down the right post, and quickly switched with a beaming shot into the far corner. A deserving goal for Gentile, who was dogging every Ram in his way during Sunday's game.

Tyler Gibson fed Rex for his second score of the game in the 78th to end the festivities on Sunday. After a short pause with the ball, all alone at the top of the box, Rex brought it within ten yards out and blasted a roller in the right side of goal.

After two blowout wins this weekend, Charlotte has a much more formidable opponent coming up this Friday in No. 8 RPI ranked, Saint Louis (11-3, 5-1). Both teams sit atop the Atlantic 10 standings at the close of this weekend's play, and could use this game as a resume builder while the NCAA tournament approaches. Coach Langan briefly touched on the Saint Louis game, "They should be a good test to see were our team is at."


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