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Charlotte FC Weekly Round-Up

By Ryan Donahue

Photo Courtesy of Cisco Art

Charlotte FC face off this upcoming weekend in Gillette Stadium against the New England Revolution. The Revolution’s coach Caleb Porter promised supporters that their side will get a win, and Dean Smith reminded us in a press conference yesterday the dangers of making promises that cannot be kept. 

While it remains to be seen which manager will get the last laugh, the back and forth between the two adds a tasty layer to what has historically been a competitive battle between the two Eastern Conference sides. 

Ahead of the upcoming fixture, here is a round-up of the key events and Charlotte FC news from the past week:

Abada’s Welcome Party

Charlotte’s newest designated player Liel Abada made his debut last weekend at Bank of America and this week formally made his welcome this week during his introductory press conference and thanked Charlotte fans for the warm welcome and early support. Charlotte fans gathered at Atrium Health Performance Park to welcome the former Celtic winger’s arrival to the Queen City.

Abada expressed his excitement to play for Smith in the Charlotte front three with the team leveraging it’s wide wing attacking play which will fit nicely with Abada’s profile. Additionally, Abada discussed his experience playing in big competitions and winning trophies with Celtic and aims to bring a winning mentality to the Charlotte side.

While Abada expressed his excitement to play for the club, he also emphasized his appreciation for the city and the people of Charlotte which played a part in ultimate decision to join the club.

Smith also attended Abada’s reception where he spoke with fans and signed autographs.

Players to watch this weekend

With Kerwin Vargas and Enzo Copetti struggling to get going this season, the game against New England this weekend could be a perfect opportunity for them to kickstart their season. While the penalty miss by Vargas seems to have dented his confidence and Copetti has still yet to find the prolific form that brought him to Charlotte, both players will want to put in a quality performance to win back the trust of the fans. With the likes of Tavares, Agyemang, and Abada being featured more often Dean Smith will have to make tough decisions around his front three and a long term goal drought could force Smith to evaluate his options.

Charlotte’s local hometown mayor Brandt Bronico returned from injury this past weekend and is available for selection. 

While Bronico will likely come on as a sub as he continues to find fitness, the energy and work rate he offers in the second half could be critical to Charlotte ensuring a high quality midfield performance for ninety minutes as Smith will want to ensure starters like Westwood’s minutes are monitored.

Smith mentioned in his press conference today that Scott Arfield has returned to the first team and is available for selection this weekend while Ben Bender is continuing to progress and will look to be reintegrated in the upcoming weeks.

Predicted Lineup

While it is uncertain who Smith will select in the starting 11, fans can expect a fairly consistent squad to the lineup last week with the following players expected to start (Kahlina (GK), Uronen (LB), Privett (LCB), Malinda (RCB), Byrne (RB), Westwood (DM), Diani (CM), Dejaegere (AM), Vargas (RW), Tavares (LW), Copetti (ST).

New England’s Difficult Start

The season has not gotten off to a positive start for Porter’s men with the side still searching for its first win in league play. This past week, the Revolution lost 0-4 to Club América in the CONCACAF Champions League. 

While New England will be desperate to get their first win at home in front of their supporters, the match presents a great opportunity for Charlotte to improve its away form this season.