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Charlotte FC Stock Up, Stock Down: The Fanbase shows up midweek or weekend, Abada struggles to find goalscoring consistency

By Brian Maurer


Photo courtesy of CJ Hellner/TopBin90


Charlotte FC fell 2-1 to Inter Miami this past Wednesday after a late goal sealed their fate. Dean Smith stated in the post-match presser that he felt hard done by the result and the refereeing, a topic that has come up regularly during the Smith era.


The Crown struggled to find the finish to put them ahead, allowing Miami to take advantage of an opening, which is what Benjamin Cremaschi did when he slotted home Julian Gressel’s low cross.


Here is the Charlotte stock-up and stock-down analysis from this past week’s game:


Stock Up


Patrick Agyemang when he gets five or more shots in a game


Agyemang has been the focal point of the concerns surrounding the lack of finishing in Charlotte. However, in the three games when his shooting volume is higher (five or more shots), he has scored at least one goal.


Many will look at the frustration boiling over leading to his red card at the end of the game and consider this a stock-down game for Agyemang. But it's important to also consider what the young striker has done when he gets several scoring opportunities. Something that happens too few and far between.


Wednesdays at the Bank


While the Wednesday home game hasn’t brought a win for Charlotte, the home crowd has still come out in droves. A couple of weeks ago the Crown’s fans topped 28,000 on a Wednesday night versus Orlando City. This past week the upper bowl was opened and over 47,000 fans showed up for a Messi-less Miami.


Many teams in MLS struggle to get 20,000 plus fans on a Saturday. Charlotte fans have been showing up on Wednesdays. Smith’s squad will have one more Wednesday home game to get this crowd the midweek three points they have deserved.


Stock Down


Jere Uronen’s defensive lapses


Uronen will get a lot of praise for his assist and leading the team in assists. He has been one of Charlotte’s best players on both sides of the ball this year. However, against Miami, he had two hesitations where he failed to close down the ball on the left flank. Those two moments both led to goals.


The Finnish defender failed to close down Marcelo Weigandt who then switched the play to Jordi Alba in the box, and he then combined for some magic leading to the first goal. On the late second goal, Uronen looked completely out of position and was miles away from Gressel who showed how precise he can be when allowed the amount of time he was given.


While this stock down may seem harsh, he is one of the few veteran leaders on what is otherwise a very young team. For Charlotte to have consistent success the veterans like Uronen will need to play nearly flawlessly to make up for the inexperience and youthful mistakes that are going to be made from the rest of the developing squad.


Charlotte FC against the top of the Eastern Conference


This latest result is Charlotte FC’s third straight loss against one of the top five teams in the EC. Their next two matches are on the road against FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew who are currently first and third in the East.


If Charlotte wants to take another step forward they will need to find a way to start earning more points against the best of the best. They have four more matches against top-five EC opponents to show they are ready to make that leap.


Liel Abada’s regular disappearances


While Agyemang as the striker has faced a lot of scrutiny for his finishing and the team’s lack of scoring, few people have mentioned the inconsistencies of Abada. The newly signed Designated Player has made 11 starts for the Crown and while he has flashed true brilliance he hasn’t demonstrated the ability to carry this team regularly.


He is currently on a five-game skid without a goal since his breakout performance against Atlanta United. If he wants to be more than a flash in a pan with speed in Charlotte he will need to start delivering the goods week in and week out.


Many fans may say give the young player time. In many circumstances, one could be inclined to agree. But young players on big transfer fees are expected to deliver immediate results these days in MLS. Cucho Hernandez was on a similar transfer fee and is on a similar salary to Abada, he also came to the US at the same age as the Israeli winger. The difference so far in their debut MLS seasons is that Hernandez delivered the goods (.76 goal contributions per 90 in his first season) while Charlotte fans are waiting for Abada to make good (.40 goal contributions per 90).


Summary


Charlotte has lost two in a row for only the third time this season. They have yet to lose three straight in the Dean Smith era. That resolve will be truly tested this weekend against the Supporters’ Shield leaders Cincinnati. The squad will be pushed even harder with a quick turnaround midweek road game versus the Crew, and a third straight road game against Austin FC the following Saturday. Three road games in eight days against opponents who are all currently sitting in a playoff spot*. This three-game stretch is where Smith will find out how deep his squad can dig to find the resolve needed to get results.






*Austin FC is currently in ninth which is a play-in game.


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