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Charlotte FC Stock Up, Stock Down: Abada gets the game-winner in Atlanta, Bronico continues to grind

By Sam Vanolinda


Liel Abada (Photo courtesy of CJ Hellner/TopBin90)


Liel Abada has stepped up and proved his worth when it mattered most, with a game-winning brace against Southeastern rivals Atlanta United, to close out a week that started with a demoralizing 1-3 loss against the Red Bulls.


It was a great bounce-back victory, and finally some goal-scoring for the Crown, who had relied heavily on defense for the past month.


Here’s a stock up/down for the two matches this week.


Stock Up


Liel Abada


All the questions about Abada's impact have been answered. For Celtic he was a big game player, scoring multiple times in the Old Firm Derby. With Charlotte, he has inserted himself into one of the most important games of the season against our not-so-friendly neighbors to the South.


When he picked up the ball in space, he did something that Charlotte fans have been begging the team to do — confidently strike the ball.


A low-driven shot from outside the box was the first goal, and a great run and pass from Bronico into the box for an easy finish was the second


Abada had four shots on Sunday after not much impact versus NYRB, he was also 83% on passing, had 10 touches in the opponent's box, and had two successful dribbles.


Abada handily took over the game on Sunday night, which is what DPs should do. He will be the key for this team as the season progresses. 


Brandt Bronico


I have had doubts about Bronico in the attacking midfield position, and while it did not work well on Wednesday, he had a great showing on Sunday.


He has proven that he is still a very capable player in this team, with a great assist for the key second Abada goal against Atlanta. 


He's a tough player who can go into a challenge and create energy in the team. He was able to win the ball back with five recoveries and two tackles, which set up counterattacks for the Crown.


His pass to Adaba for the goal was smart, finding the ball on the touchline and picking out the star man wide-open for the smart finish.


Stock down


Away defense


The defense has been great all year, especially at home, but five goals allowed in two games on the road is bad for the backline.


Emil Forsberg carved through the right side of Charlotte’s defense Thursday like a Thanksgiving turkey, ending with two goals and three points.


And on Sunday, Almada, Fortune, and Silva looked dangerous. With 19 shots conceded, Charlotte FC was lucky to escape with the win. 


I'm sure the Defense will return to its great form. For a while, it looked like they may never concede again, but playing defense means riding waves of positive and negative form.


Luckily, Abada and the Charlotte offense picked up the slack and won.


Nikola Petković


Petković looked to be a mainstay in the team earlier this year but has been benched in two straight for Bronico.


He seemed to be a potential number 10 solution for the team, but it looks like Dean Smith trusts the veteran Bronico at this point in the year.


With his emphasis on defensive structure, it makes sense why Bronico got the nod. It seems like the priority in the summer window will be a 10 and potentially a 9.


Summary


No better way to cure the hangover from a tough loss than beating your biggest rival away.


Charlotte will now go through a break before their next match on June 15th. A good time to take a step back and look at the team so far this year.


I think they have been very successful, especially with all of the DP struggles. The defense and tactics are solid, and the team is getting results that they hadn’t in previous seasons. 


What goes on in the summer will make a massive impact on if this team will be fighting for a playoff spot, or a team that could easily make a push towards the Cup.


Swiderski coming back would be perfect, in my opinion, but I'm excited to see what players the club may link with. Marco Reus was a long shot, with him likely heading to LA, but a player similar to him with European experience could take this team to the glory land.


After watching Emil Forsburg on Wednesday, a player like him would do wonders.


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