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Semifinals Report: Independence corral top-seeded Owls, advance on penalties to first-ever final

By Staff, 10/28/23, 8:45PM EDT


Players' Shield holders are out ahead of final in second consecutive season

PAPILLION, Neb. - The No. 4 Charlotte Independence advanced to the 2023 USL League One Final on penalties, 0-0 (5-4), over No. 1 Union Omaha on Saturday evening at a frigid Werner Park. In just their second season in the league, the Charlotte Independence will participate in the 2023 USL League One Final - the nine-year-old club's first-ever final - in Cary, N.C. against rivals North Carolina FC.

Despite Omaha's record-breaking 2023 regular season, the Owls will fall short of the USL League One Final in the second consecutive postseason in which the No. 4 seed topped the Players' Shield holders. 

The difference in regulation was the Charlotte defense and goalkeeper Austin Pack, whose seven saves ties Kyle Zobeck (2019 USL League One Final vs. Greenville) for the most in USL League One Playoffs history. Union Omaha's 2.92 expected goals in normal time were the most accumulated by a team shut out through 90 minutes in League One regular season and postseason history. The second-most was Omaha's 2.70 against Charlotte on April 19, 2023.

After becoming just the fourth match in USL League One Playoffs history to progress to extra time, the contest became the first in league history to require penalty kicks to determine which side would advance. The shootout ultimately came down to a costly miss from Omaha's leading scorer, Steevan Dos Santos, in the second round of kicks.


GK - Austin Pack (CLT) – Setting a league record with his 116 saves in the regular season, Pack continued his incredible 2023 campaign, equaling an all-time postseason record with seven saves in a USL League One Playoffs match.

Penalty Shootout

Union Omaha – JP Scearce, scored; Steevan Dos Santos, missed; Joe Gallardo, scored; Joe Brito, scored; Chavany Willis, scored

Charlotte Independence – Joel Johnson, scored; Héctor Acosta, scored; Khori Bennett, scored; Luis Álvarez, scored; Nick Spielman, scored

Full Box Score

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