Press Recaps

Charlotte FC Brought the Party in 3-2 Comeback Against Atlanta United

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As the Charlotte FC bus pulled into the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, they were greeted by a wave of blue pouring into Atlanta United’s stadium.

Around 2,000 Charlotte faithful made the long trek to Atlanta for one of the most anticipated matches of the season which gave the team a “big boost” according to captain Ashley Westwood.

“We felt it as soon as we got the bus into the stadium,” explained Westwood. “We managed to time it right where we walked right by the fans, and it gave everyone a lift, a great lift to see them.”

The Crown needed all the support they could muster as they were in for a challenging first half. Atlanta were riding a high following their upset win over Supporter’s Shield frontrunners Inter Miami during the week, and that momentum seemed to have carried over. Following a lengthy initial spell of dominance, the Five Stripes opened up the scoring with a goal in the 35th minute.

Atlanta seemed to be full well in control, but a well-placed corner kick from Jere Uronen took a fortunate deflection off Atlanta’s center back to help stifle Atlanta’s momentum.

Both teams went into the half level, but adjustments were made, and Charlotte looked like a different team coming out of the other side of the half.

"We didn’t quite get our press right in the first half,” explained Head Coach Dean Smith. “We had a number of opportunities in transition where we never quite connected enough passes. They started better than we did.

“But once we got our press sorted and got our front three higher at the start of the second half, we made life really difficult for them.”

Like any good press, it not only prevents scoring opportunities but also helps boost the attack. Liel Abada, who took over the match in the second half, was a direct beneficiary of the halftime adjustments.

The Israeli had just gotten engaged a few days prior to the match, and on top of that, delivered one of the best goals of the season to give Charlotte the lead. He followed it with a well-worked second goal 12 minutes later for his first brace in the black and blue.

“The second half we looked a real threat,” said Westwood. “Liel’s come up with two moments of magic and won us the game.”

Like any rivalry match, this win was just a little bit sweeter, especially with all the banter exchanged between the sides.

Coach Smith was particularly glad to cut Atlanta’s home festivities short and give the traveling crowd something to celebrate on their way back to the 704.

“I'm glad we're sending them home happy,” said Smith following his team’s win. “I was a little bit annoyed when I saw lots of party hats arrive at the stadium, and all their fans had the party hats on.

“They can take them off now, and we'll pick them up.”