Charlotte FC got off to a good start in the Coachella Valley Invitational with a 3 - 2 win against fellow Eastern Conference rival D.C. United. They played two different lineups for each half allowing plenty of players to get much needed minutes including new DP striker Enzo Copetti.
There was a strong emphasis on defensive pressing organization that head coach is Christian Lattanzio continuing to build on from last season. As expected, the Crown looked to hold possession and at times were able to exert control over the match. Players got into threatening areas more often and were able to create chances with both units of players.
The standard preseason rust was there, but there were plenty of positives both collectively and individually to take from in the Club's second pre-season friendly.
Lineup: Sisniega, Lindsey, Neeley, Jones, Mora, Bender, Hegardt, Gaines, Mello, Vargas, Shinyashiki
It only took 3 minutes for the first goal in Charlotte FC’s first preseason friendly at the Coachella invitational to be scored. D.C. struck first from a goal kick that landed in striker Christian Benteke’s path on goal for a one versus one opportunity against
CLTFC immediately responded with a goal of their own in the 5th minute where Vinicius Mello set up Kerwin Vargas who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner with his weaker left foot.
Things settled down a bit for the middle portion of the half but the end of it mirrored the hectic opening minutes. Charlotte gained the lead through a McKinze Gaines assisted by Jaylin Lindsey.
The Crown’s lead didn’t last long as three minutes later D.C. tied up the match with a goal off a set piece.
Lineup: Sisniega, Byrne, Malanda, Diop, Sobociński, Afful, Bronico, Santos, Świderski, Jóźwiak, Copetti
Substitues: Marks for Sisniega ('75), Agyemang for Copetti ('75)
Charlotte started the half lively as in the 48th Kamil Jóźwiak whipped in a cross that Copetti flicked just wide. However, fellow DP Karol Świderski was able to give CLTFC the lead in the 54th minute with a free kick that went up and over the opponent's wall into the bottom left corner.
Jozwiak once again involved in creating a scoring opportunity when he cut inside on his right and has a strong shot saved at the far post. Nuno Santos’s follow up was parried away at the near post for a corner.
The last chance of the match came from another Jóźwiak cross that Santos managed to head but saved by the keeper. That was the last major action of the match and the result ended in a 3-2 win for Charlotte.
Charlotte FC faces off against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, February 4th for the second match of the invitational.