Press Recaps

Charlotte FC Ready to Make a Statement as They Host Reigning MLS Cup Champions Columbus Crew


Charlotte FC is gearing up for a crucial clash against the reigning MLS Cup champions, Columbus Crew, as they return home after a series of away matches. The team prepares to face off against one of the league's most formidable opponents at Bank of America Stadium.

Head Coach Dean Smith expressed his excitement for playing in front of a home crowd again following a seemingly never-ended road stretch.

“I'm looking forward to having the parties and supporters behind us,” said Smith. “It was really exciting that first game against New York City, and it was good to see so many travel to Nashville last weekend.

“Now, we have to make sure home advantage counts for us now.”

While back at home, things won’t get any easier for The Crown. They face a red hot Columbus Crew side who haven’t showed any signs of slowing down after winning the 2023 MLS Cup.

Smith and his coaching staff have meticulously studied the Columbus Crew, drawing on Smith's prior experience facing their star striker, Cucho Hernandez, during his tenure in the Premier League. He acknowledged the challenges posed by Columbus Crew, and emphasized the need for his team to be vigilant across the pitch.

“The threats are all over the pitch,” explained Smith. “They like to build up, they like to suck you in and play balls beyond you. They've got players who can go in behind and they create all kinds of goals.

“So, they are a real goal threat as they like to dominate the ball. So, our job is to is to fight to fight them to get hold of the ball ourselves.”

Despite not being likely to field any Designated Players, Smith sees the upcoming match as an opportunity for Charlotte FC to make a bold statement about what they are capable of.

“I think for me it's an opportunity for us to make a mark and tell everybody what we're about. By playing the team that won it last year, then going and trying to beat them.

“If we do beat them that draws a line in the sand for us, our credentials, and what we want to do. We want to be competing week in week out, and I think it's a great challenge for all of us.”

Charlotte FC can also leverage their past performances against the champions. Not only did they secure a victory against the Crew last season at home, but they have also emerged victorious in their only two encounters with reigning MLS Cup winners. As the players take to the field with the roar of the home crowd behind them, all eyes will be on Charlotte as they aim to make a statement.

The Party Is Back | Mar. 23 | 7:30 PM

The Party Is Back | Mar. 23 | 7:30 PM

Join the party for Girls & Women in Sports Night on Saturday, March 23rd including a clear fanny pack giveaway, courtesy of Atrium Health.