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Charlotte FC's projected starting XI vs Nashville SC

By Ryan Donahue

Photo Coutesy of CJ Hellner

Bank of America is opening its upper deck this weekend as Charlotte FC takes on Nashville in what is a highly anticipated Eastern Conference (EC) matchup. Nashville, who currently is sitting 12th in the EC has yet to get a win on the road which should give Charlotte confidence to go out and secure three more points at home in front of its home supporters.

Before the matchup, our team took a look at the Charlotte starting XI as well as some news and highlights from Dean Smith’s latest press conference.

Projected starting XI

Across the back line, the defensive partnerships will likely remain the same with Jere Uronen and Andrew Privett on the left and Adilson Malanda and Nathan Byrne on the right.

Smith will likely line up the midfield similar to last week’s match against the Portland Timbers with Ashley Westwood and Djibril Diani in a double pivot, and Nikola Petković in the attacking midfield role. 

With the absence of Liel Abada, the main changes will be to the wings where it is expected that Kerwin Vargas will fill in on the right and Iuri Tavares will retain his starting spot on the left.

At the center of the attack, Smith will likely start Patrick Agyemang over Enzo Copetti who scored his first goal of the season last weekend.

Copetti negotiating a move

Although Copetti’s goal will have given the forward a significant boost in confidence as of this week there have been reports that the Argentine forward is looking to seal a move back to his home country and is negotiating a move to Athlético Rosario Central.

While the deal has not officially been announced Smith did note that if a club did meet the club’s valuation for a Charlotte player the club would be willing to sell. When asked about the forward options Smith stated he still feels he has strong options between Agyemang, Tavares, Vargas, and Tyger Smalls who can all play across the forward line.

Given the underwhelming start to Copetti’s career in Charlotte compounded by his inability to endear himself to many of the Charlotte supporters. As of now, it seems a transfer fee has been agreed to between the clubs, and that Copetti is in negotiations with Rosario.

Vargas signs extension, Tuiloma ruled out for this weekend

Vargas made news this week extending his contract and becoming the first U-22 player to re-sign with the club on a contract that will keep the winger through 2027 with an option for 2028.

Ahead of Charlotte’s matchup, Smith noted that Bill Tuiloma will also be out this weekend.

Last season, Charlotte was disappointed to not get a result against Nashville at home, Smith’s side will be hoping to put on a show in front of its supporters and keep the positive home form going as the side looks to further climb in the EC.