By Brian Maurer
Brandt Bronico (Photo courtesy of CJ Heller)
Charlotte FC is getting set to play DC United for the fourth time in club history. They were The Crown’s first-ever opponent and will now be facing off in a crucial match-up for both teams. Charlotte FC’s roster has had a major overhaul since that inaugural MLS match. Here is a look at each of the Charlotte FC starting XI’s against DC from then till now:
DC United vs Charlotte FC (2/26/22) - 0 PPG Avg
Charlotte FC vs. DC United (8/3/22) - 1.17 PPG Avg since February 26
DC United vs. Charlotte FC (4/29/23) - 1.2 PPG Avg since August 3
Charlotte FC vs. DC United (9/16/23) - 1.29 PPG Avg since April 29
The Miguel Ángel Ramirez-led inaugural starting XI only has five players from it that are still on the roster today. Three of those (Kristijan Kahlina, Jaylin Lindsey, and Brandt Bronico) have been regular starters for Charlotte FC of late. It is safe to say that Karol Świderski would have also likely been starting if his visa issues were resolved at the time.
Christian Lattanzio had taken over as an interim coach by the time Charlotte FC played DC United again. Seven players are still on the club from that starting XI. Of those seven Kahlina, Bronico, and Świderski have been the only regular starters. Ben Bender has also been getting some starts of late but he has not been a regular starter for the club overall this season.
Lattanzio’s first match-up against DC as the full-time coach did not go well. However, the starting lineup turnover slowed from that match-up to now. All 11 of the starters on that roster have maintained their spot through the summer window. Many of them are also still regular starters.
George Marks was covering for an injured Kahlina. Derrick Jones, Adilson Malanda, Nathan Byrne, Ashley Westwood, Enzo Copetti, Bronico, and Świderski have all been regular starters when available this season. If you add Kahlina in as an option that would mean that about eight of the starting spots available at that time in April are likely to still be filled by the same players in the eleven on Saturday.
What this shows more than anything is that the constant turnover last season has started to dissipate slightly this year. There could still be more moves in the winter but at this point, Charlotte FC seems to have slowly worked its way towards a regular starting lineup. The plus side is that that build has finally taken place. The downside is that it has taken nearly two seasons to do so.
Another interesting positive is that Charlotte FC has had a slow but steady increase in their points per game average from DC United game to DC United game. The current pace (1.29 ppg) Charlotte is on, since the last time these teams met, could sneak them into the playoffs.
This match-up has been all about 3-0 scorelines
Another fun stat heading into this game is that all previous Charlotte FC-DC United matches have ended 3-0 for the home team. This history sets up nicely for Charlotte FC who are desperate for all three points this weekend to help keep themselves in the playoff picture.