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Charlotte FC Weekly Roundup

By Ryan Donahue

Photo Courtesy of CJ Hellner

After a disappointing result last weekend where Charlotte FC failed to secure points on the road, the side is back at Bank of America this weekend for their second face-off of the season against John Herdman’s men. During Charlotte’s first fixture against Toronto, the Canadian club came away with the three points. 

However, with Charlotte at home this weekend, it will be crucial for the team to get a victory in front of their fans. 

Ahead of this weekend's matchup, here are the notable events from the week:

Player Availability

In yesterday’s press conference, Dean Smith confirmed that Nathan Byrne will be unavailable and Adilson Malanda is also in doubt due to a hamstring injury suffered last week however a decision has yet to be made on whether he will feature this weekend. 

Smith also confirmed that Ben Bender has built up fitness after coming back from injury. However, the midfielder will likely need to get minutes with Crown Legacy FC before being ready to return to the first team. 

While Enzo Copetti has yet to reintegrate into the first team’s starting eleven, Smith also noted that the forward will compete with Patrick Agyemang for the center forward position going forward and with a positive week of training a tough decision will need to be made on who starts.

Tactical Approach

While goal scoring has been a clear pain point for Charlotte so far this season, Smith emphasized going into the upcoming matches the focus for the players will not be so much on scoring but rather on patterns of play that will be effective to break down the opponents.

Smith acknowledged that converting chances is important however if the players are creating frequent chances the side can be positive that eventually the goals will come.

Liel Abada

While Abada has slowly been building up minutes in his first two games with Charlotte, it is possible that Smith will look to deploy the winger from the start giving fans another opportunity to observe how the winger is adapting to both the team and the league.

MLS Spending

This week MLS owners voted to implement three major changes to the league’s spending rules. The rules will primarily see alterations to the designated player and under-22 initiative spending, contract buyouts, and increases to the benefits of players sales. While the changes will not be official just yet, this will add to the funding and general team spending for most clubs.

When asked about potential additions to the side, specifically in attack, Smith noted that there could be an opportunity to bring in another forward. However, there would need to be some alignment, and with most European prospects nearing the end of their season, clubs are hesitant to open negotiations until after the conclusion of the season.

Final Thoughts:

Despite losing to Toronto on the road, Charlotte FC should approach the upcoming match this weekend with confidence that they can secure the three points at home. 

Toronto currently sits two places above Charlotte in the Eastern Conference table and a win would move Charlotte above Toronto in the standings. While the away form for Charlotte has left much to be desired, the club has yet to lose at home this season and with Toronto’s star man, Lorenzo Insigne unavailable, the club has an excellent opportunity to climb the table this weekend.