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Charlotte FC’s Projected XI against the Portland Timbers

By Ryan Donahue

Photo Courtesy of CJ Hellner

Lovin’ Life Music Fest isn’t the only thing kicking off this weekend in downtown Charlotte! With the multi-night festival taking place across the weekend those looking to change scenery will want to come out and support Charlotte FC at 7:30 pm EST as the side takes on a struggling Portland Timbers.

The Timbers have gotten off to a rough start this season having won only one of their six away games. With only ten points accrued, the match presents a great opportunity for Charlotte to pick up another important win. Having come off the back of two disappointing defeats, Dean Smith will want to get a response from the side if they are to keep up with the rest of the Eastern Conference.

In the Press Conference today, Dean Smith noted that Bill Tuiloma is expected to be out while Ben Bender and Brandon Cambridge are close to returning. Kerwin Vargas will also be unavailable due to a one-game suspension picked up this past week from yellow card accumulation.

Other key points that Smith noted during the meeting was how last week he made the decision to go for the win toward the end of the game and felt that the side was in control of the game and felt his side didn’t deserve to lose or win the game. Smith also mentioned Nikola Petković and his progressive passing and freedom of youth which he liked.

When asked about the upcoming run of games in May, Smith noted he is looking forward to added games and will prepare his side for a fast-paced schedule, and doesn’t expect much time off. In terms of player management, Smith is focused on making sure all players are healthy and up to speed when called upon in the upcoming games.

Smith concluded the presser stating he felt that in almost every game this season his side has had the better chances but is working to help his side handle the pressure of winning.

Ahead of Saturday night, our team took a look at the expected starting XI to face Portland.

In defense, Charlotte is expected to line up Jere Uronen and Andrew Privett on the left and Adilson Malanda and Nathan Byrne on the right.

In the midfield, Júnior Urso or Djibril Diani will likely partner Westwood with Petković or Dejaegere in the attacking role. Arfield is also back healthy so he is another option for the CAM role. Up front, Iuri Tavares will likely fill in for Vargas with Enzo Copetti and Liel Abada keeping their places from last week.

With downtown Charlotte being the hot spot for live music all weekend, the fans inside Bank of America will also be rocking as they look to push their side toward another home victory ahead of a busy upcoming fixture list.

Projected starting XI