Press Recaps

Charlotte FC's Strong Start Not Enough for Dean Smith and Players


Charlotte FC have started off 2024 strong, going unbeaten in their first two matches with a hard-fought draw in Vancouver following up last week’s home opener victory. Despite achieving their best-ever start to a season, Dean Smith expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome on Saturday.

“I'm a bit disappointed to be honest because I felt that we should have won the game in the first half,” commented Smith following the match. “I thought we could have taken the game away from Vancouver. I thought we were good for probably 35 minutes for that first half. Scored a good goal, had a penalty taken away from us for some reason. I thought we were the better team by far the first half...

“So yeah, just disappointed, really, with the goals. And the fact that we didn't win the game [in the first half].”

Charlotte FC dominated the opening 30 minutes, but as the match progressed, it devolved into a scrappy affair with neither side seizing control. One positive takeaway was Charlotte's defensive resilience, led by center back Adilson Malanda.


The Frenchman applauded how the team limited Vancouver’s attack but shared his coach’s disappointment with the final result.

“They didn’t have a lot of chances,” started Malanda. “I think we were good; we were in the game. Even with [conceding] that goal, we could score more than that. But now we just keep going because I think we are in a good way.

“I’ll repeat it, we created a lot of problems for them. I think they could be happier than us tonight to get the point.”

Malanda wasn't the only young talent who shined for Charlotte FC on the night. Iuri Tavares, continuing his impressive form since being promoted from Crown Legacy FC, scored the only goal of the match, marking his second goal contribution in two starts.

Smith commended the impact of the team's young players throughout the season’s opening stage.

“I think it's [their impact] there to see on the pitch at the moment,” said Smith. “You've got young Iuri who scored today, set up one last week as well, and has had a really favorable first two games. You’ve got [Andrew] Privett who’s come through as well who's playing regularly at the moment, and you’ve got other players as well.

“So yes, I’m really pleased that we've got players who are coming through the Academy and Legacy helping the squad.”

Smith and his team's disappointment, with what many would consider a positive result in a challenging away fixture, reflects the higher standards they've set for themselves. Their “tough to beat” mentality has shone through in the opening two games.

“Sometimes in football, it happens,” concluded Malanda. “You don't score the second [goal] but when it’s one to one, we just cannot lose at the end of the game. If you cannot win, just you cannot lose.

“Obviously we wanted to win tonight but as I said it’s part of the game, and then we just keep working to win the next one.”