By Jake Sokol
Courtesy of RMG Photography
Charlotte FC finished ninth in the Eastern Conference during their inaugural season in 2022. Their home form was pivotal, earning 31 of their total 42 points at Bank of America Stadium. A different set of results unfolded during Charlotte's second season. The Crown currently sits 12th in the Eastern Conference at the Leagues Cup break. With only three wins all season at home, they haven’t given fans as much to be proud of despite attendance remaining high.
During the 2023 campaign, Charlotte FC conceded 17 goals in 11 games at home. The previous year they conceded 16 goals in all 17 home games. If Charlotte wins their remaining home matches they still won’t reach the 10 wins accomplished in 2022.
“They want to please the crowd, they want to get a win, and then they are extra anxious about it in my opinion. We need to control those moments better.” Christian Lattanzio said during a press conference after Charlotte FC gave up a 2-0 lead against FC Cincinnati.
Patrick Agyemang and Ashley Westwood also addressed the home form anxiousness in a recent media scrum.
"At times it does affect us, but I think it's more in a positive sense," said Agyemang about the atmosphere at Bank of America Stadium and its influence on the players.
"The atmosphere's electric...sometimes it's right to calm down a little bit and not get carried away with the atmosphere cause the atmosphere's incredible" Westwood said when discussing how to combat the extra energy that comes from playing in Charlotte.
Support has never wavered in the long stretches of losses and ties fans have endured. Crowds consistently exceed 30,000 as they always have. Fans cheer exceptionally loud throughout the games. With all of this support and the rookie season proving much more successful than the sequel, the question is - why is the team so anxious now?
New players, constant lineup changes, and multiple injuries at any one time are a few contributing factors. What is surprising is that their away form has been nearly as good as their home form with three wins on the road. These factors apply home and away, but the crowd is only on the team’s side at home games. When the Crown's road form has been so solid, typically you would expect their home form to be even stronger. This has not been the case this season.
The Leagues Cup provides Charlotte FC with an opportunity to return to positive home form while not risking a regular-season loss. Coming off a win via penalty kicks against FC Dallas, defeating Necaxa would solidify Charlotte as the winner of their group.
Winning a home game during the Leagues Cup may provide the Crown with the momentum needed to improve at Bank of America Stadium during the final stretch of the MLS season. Picking up points at home will be pivotal if they have any hopes of getting themselves back into the playoff picture.