Press Recaps

Charlotte FC Coach Dean Smith Lauds New Signing Liel Abada, Previews Next Match Versus Toronto FC


Yesterday, Charlotte FC made headlines by announced the signing of the highly coveted winger, Liel Abada. As the focus understandably turned to Charlotte’s latest addition, Head Coach Dean Smith addressed media ahead of the team’s upcoming match against Toronto FC.

Unsurprisingly, the initial inquiries centered around Abada and the qualities he brings to the team.

“To get a player of his caliber... the consistency he’s had the last couple of seasons with Celtic is a big coup for ourselves,” said Smith regarding the newest addition to his squad.

“He will add creativity in the final third. He scores goals and he creates goals. In the past two seasons he’s probably scored 10 and created seven or eight. If you’re getting a wide player that’s had 18 goal involvements a season – that’s a good player.”

Charlotte FC missed out on a potential two-points in their match against the Vancouver Whitecaps due to their failure to capitalize on scoring opportunities.

“You’ve got to take your chances and we didn’t,” said Smith.

A player of Abada's caliber has the potential to convert those future opportunities into goals, not only solidifying Charlotte as a formidable opponent but also rendering them a more menacing team to contend with. Defensive has been the team’s forte but their upcoming challenge against former Italian internationals Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi will present their toughest defensive test yet.

“We’ve done very well defensively.” praised Smith. “We’ve restricted the opposition; we’re probably coming up another level against them two players. Our concentration levels have got to be good.”

The team has been tough to break down in open play, but where Smith has directed his attention to is improving set piece defense. Charlotte conceded a goal from a set piece in their match against the Whitecaps, and in their previous encounter in Toronto, they surrendered both goals from corner kicks, including one scored directly from a corner (an Olimpico) by Bernardeschi.

“They are so important, we scored one in the first game... they’re really important. We’ve been working on them religiously.”

Smith did have a message for Charlotte FC fans traveling to BMO Field after regretfully not being able to greet the fans that made the trip to Vancouver.

“I know there were a few of our fans there, which we are really thankful for traveling that far away... I’m sure there will be a few more traveling to Toronto, so please make yourself known and I’ll come over and give you a wave that’s for sure.”