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Charlotte FC Stock Up, Stock Down: Copetti gets his goal, Petkovic shines

By Sam Vanolinda

Photos courtesy of CJ Hellner/TopBin90

After Enzo Copetti went through on goal and calmly slotted the ball away, he celebrated by plugging his ears and shushing — a clear message to the doubters that he still deserves to be at this level and have a spot in the lineup.

As one of those doubting him, I am happy to see him shake the jitters and begin his 2024 account.

Charlotte returned to home glory with a 2-0 win versus the Portland Timbers on Saturday night; a much-needed injection of life into a team that had been drifting toward the lower third of the Eastern Conference.

Here’s some stock up/down in the first regular season meeting between Portland and Charlotte.

Stock up

Nikola Petković

Petković was trusted in the number 10 position on Saturday. The team needed to improve in performance from that position all year and finally, Petković came through with an amazing showing. This game was a glance at what this team is capable of when the point guard of the team is playing well, or maybe the shooting guard, since. Petković wears number 23.

He scored an amazing goal, a moment of magic that the match so desperately needed. After receiving the ball, he touched it heavily through the defender's legs like he was doing a Messi vs Bayern impression and slotted the ball home near post.

He also had a one-on-one against Portland keeper Maxime Crepeau closer to the start of the game but was unable to convert.

Petković was causing havoc, and that is what you need from a number 10, you need someone who can flip the game with a great moment of quality.

(I know Petković was listed on the right side of the midfield in a 4-3-3 formation, but in the game, he was playing more forward and more central than Diani and Westwood.)

Djibril Diani

Diani's heatmap (Courtesy of SofaScore)

Diani will be in the nightmares of many Portland players in the following days. 

Every time it felt like they were going to counter, Diani would show up and put an end to their attacking effort.

The center midfielder has been great this season, and this game was no different, he was 80% on passing, won 10 ground duels, had two interceptions, six tackles, and had two key passes.

Diani will be an unsung hero if Charlotte ends up making a playoff run this year, he is so good at controlling the game and making key tackles or interceptions in the middle of the pitch.

Enzo Copetti

Copetti will need to score a couple more goals to prove himself as a bonafide designated player, but his substitute appearance on Saturday was impressive.

He showed his usual amazing hustle to pounce on a weak Timbers throw-in and finished calmly. Seeing that ball go into the net had to feel like a scab finally falling off for the Argentinian.

Now what will define this player is how he will perform in the next couple of games. He has gotten over the yips, now let us see if he can score again and start a hot streak.

Stock down

Brecht Dejaegere

Dejaegere should be seen as a solid bench option, but with Abada’s injury, he was slotted into the right wing on Saturday.

He just hasn’t had it this year, he does not have the quality to produce heavily from a starting role.

One key pass and zero crosses from the wing are just not the production needed. When Vargas and Abada come back he will be probably moved into a key sub role, where I think he could have a great impact later in games.


I don't have much more to say from a stock-down standpoint, it was an overall great win for the team.

Fans should be excited about that Petković performance. If the youngster could start to shine in that attacking mid position like Karol Świderski did last year, the team could become a threat in the East.

Charlotte heads back to the bank on Saturday, against Nashville, who have not been great so far this year. It could be another chance to add three more points.