Ngalina’s late goal pushes Switchbacks to draw in Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE — The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC tied 3-3 with the Charlotte Independence to complete the Switchbacks’ three-game road trip undefeated on Saturday night.

Charlotte got on the board first as Sylvain Marveaux received a pass on the left side of the penalty area and finished from close range.

The Switchbacks answered quickly as Thomas Amang cut back a pass to the top of the penalty area and Hadji Barry hit a low shot first time that the goalkeeper could only get a hand to as the ball found its way to the back of the net. The goal marked the Guinean forward’s 19th goal of the season in 19 games to extend Barry’s incredible streak and lead at the top of the Golden Boot race.

Just four minutes later, the Switchbacks scored a second goal in a similar fashion. This time Michee Ngalina played the pass to the top of the penalty area and Andre Lewis blasted a shot inside the left post. Lewis’ third goal of the season was also Ngalina’s league-leading eighth assist of the season.

The Switchbacks kept pushing in the first half as Amang had an opportunity saved high at the near post. He later rounded the goalkeeper, but his low shot struck the base of the right post. Sebastian Anderson also had a chance right before halftime as his shot was blocked at the last moment from close range.

Charlotte equalized ten minutes into the second half when Dane Kelly laid the ball off for Marcelo Palomino to fire a shot inside the left post. The hosts retook the lead when Irvin Parra took a touch around Sean Melvin and finished his opportunity.

Barry came close to getting another goal after his clever run found space behind the defenders and his shot missed the right post by mere inches.

In the 84th minute, Ngalina combined with Barry before Ngalina dribbled by multiple defenders to the center of the penalty area and the Congolese forward unleashed a powerful shot to the bottom left corner of the goal to salvage a draw.

The game ended 3-3 to see the Switchbacks earn seven points from their last three consecutive road games.

The Switchbacks return to Weidner Field on Fri., August 28, to face Austin Bold FC. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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