Ingredients of the Match

Channel the Home Energy | Ingredients of the Match


Channel the Home Energy

Charlotte FC is on an historic run of form at home, having won six of its last seven matches in all competitions. This includes a Club-record five straight wins at home, with three of those coming in the league at Bank of America Stadium and two at Matthews Sportsplex in U.S. Open Cup.

CLTFC have been nearly unplayable when they have one of the best home environments in the league behind them. Even on the road, the players had energy to draw from; there were over 1,200 Charlotte supporters making the 4-hour drive to rival Atlanta United for the 3-1 victory last week.

Brandon Cambridge, the star man on Wednesday with a match-winning brace, was full of praise for the support from the fans in his post-match interviews.

“Our fans are the best in MLS. I mean, they’re great. Last weekend, they were down in Atlanta with us, and they were louder than the whole stadium,” said the 21-year-old winger. “Being able to get these two goals and get the win for them, it made me proud inside and happy to give the fans what they really deserve.”

This will be the team’s last chance to play in front of a raucous home crowd before a grueling 4-game road trip to end the month of May. Channeling the energy from the home supporters on Saturday will be important to sending Nashville packing with zero points.

Find Mukhtar

It’s no secret that Nashville SC have been heavily reliant on their star number 10 over the past few seasons, and the story in 2023 has been no different. Hany Mukhtar has six goals and six assists so far this season, which is three more than the next closest Nashville player in either category.

In consecutive weeks, the Crown have done a good job of game-planning for and shutting down opposing attacking midfielders. CLTFC defenders swarmed Atlanta’s Thiago Almada at every opportunity and kept Chicago’s Xherdan Shaqiri similarly quiet on Wednesday night.

The same will have to be done with Mukhtar, the winner of the 2022 Landon Donovan MLS MVP award with 23 goals and 11 assists last season. The German will be central to the signature Nashville counter attack, so CLTFC’s defenders and midfielders will need to keep their heads on a swivel to keep track of him and prevent him from getting on the ball in transition.

Keep Level Heads

In these clubs’ only previous matchup in July of last year, the Crown smashed the Yotes 4-1 at Bank of America Stadium. Given this previous history, as well as the potential for a regional rivalry to develop over time, tensions and tempers will likely be high.

Keeping a level head in professional soccer is always important, of course. However, 30,000+ Charlotte FC fans will ratchet up the environment even more and keep the match emotionally charged. Staying cool under this pressure – while simultaneously getting under your opponent’s skin – can be the difference between winning and losing in this league.

Fortunately, many of Charlotte FC’s veteran leaders in the “spine” of the team are making their way back onto the field after injury layoffs. Goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina and club captain Ashley Westwood have both been pivotal to the Crown’s recent run of form, and popular defender Guzman Corujo is nearing his return after a torn ACL ended his 2022 season early.

Look to veterans like these to keep everyone around them locked in to see out a positive result on Saturday against Nashville SC.

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On the hunt for six straight home wins, Charlotte FC takes on Nashville SC to close out MLS Rivalry Week. It's time to party at The Fortress.