Press Recaps

Ashley Westwood: "It's how we react now"


Following an unbeaten start through the first two matches, Charlotte FC suffered their first defeat under Head Coach Dean Smith in a closely contested encounter against Toronto FC. The match unfolded as a tactical tug-of-war between Smith and Toronto’s manager John Herdman and a physical battle between the players.

In a match characterized by both teams striving for dominance and minimizing each other's scoring opportunities, it seemed destined to be decided by a single goal. True to expectations, it was a moment of sheer brilliance from Lorenzo Insigne that ultimately separated the two sides at the final whistle.

“It was a game that was won by one goal,” said Smith during his post-match press conference. “My reflection now is that we didn't deserve to lose the game, but we didn't deserve to win it as well.

“I thought we were by far the better team in the first half. They were slightly better than us in the second half. Unfortunately, when it is that even, one moment of brilliance can win it, and it did today.”


While the result was a loss, one could argue Charlotte’s performance was better compared to their previous encounter against another Canadian opponent, the Vancouver Whitecaps. Nevertheless, such is the nature of football at times. A silver lining that Smith drew from the match was the evident improvement in his team's ability to assert control both with and without possession.

“I thought we had really good control of the game today with and without the ball. We made them go where we wanted them to without it. With the ball, I thought we were a real threat and caused them lots and lots of problems. But in the second half, I thought they came out a little bit better than we did, and we stopped putting the ball into areas that were causing problems.”

CLTFC captain Ashley Westwood commended the team for their recent stretch of matches – they hadn’t lost or trailed in eight straight, including all of preseason – but emphasized the importance of bouncing back from their first defeat.

“It's our first loss of the season, and even in preseason as well, so we've been on a good run,” remarked Westwood. “It’s how we react now. We need to come back in on Monday and get back to work next week because we're in the middle of a tough run. We know the work that is needed.”

Despite the setback, Westwood and the team remain steadfast in their belief that they are developing something special this season, viewing it as merely just the beginning of the journey for a squad brimming with potential.

“It’s about setting standards; we’ve got a great group. Even the young lads come into that. You can’t fault the group. It’s an incredible group of lads, the manager has come in and said it. We’ve got potential in this team and that’s what’s so pleasing about being in this team...

“So, it’s a real promising time for this football club and I’m super proud to be part of it.”