Full Time Philly

Charlotte FC win their third-straight match for the first time in history as they pulled off the upset against the Eastern Conference leaders, Philadelphia Union. It was a complete performance from the team that sent the 43,860 Charlotte fans in attendance home happy and full of belief.

After feeling each other out for the first 20 minutes, the first real opportunity came to Philadelphia, but it was heroically snuffed out by Nathan Byrne bringing relief throughout the stadium. The clutch defensive stop breathed extra life into the team as they began to ask questions of the Union’s defense.

It didn’t take long after for the Crown to open the scoring. In the 24th minute, Kamil Jóźwiak made something out of nothing from a misplaced pass from Karol Świderski. The Polish winger caught up to the ball and put it on a platter for Daniel Ríos who slipped behind the defense to make himself wide open in front of goal.

Jóźwiak and Ríos combined once again to double the lead from some nifty footwork from both players. However, Ríos wasn’t done just yet. A penalty earned from a handball by Union left back Kai Wagner was buried by Ríos completing the first ever hat trick in club history. He added another in the 91st minute to make four total goals for the Mexican on the night.

It was the perfect way for the team to thank the fans for their undying support throughout the entire season on Fan Appreciation Night. That support is still going to be needed as Charlotte FC continues to fight for a shot at playoffs as they head into their last two matches of the season.

Unified Effort

As the blue-collar, well-organized team that Philadelphia are, it was going to take a complete unified effort to get a result against the Supporter’s Shield hopefuls. Every player was going to have to fight for each other if Charlotte were going to have a shot at beating the number one seed in the East.

From beating New York City FC while down a man, to the 3 – 2 comeback against the Chicago Fire, to upsetting Philadelphia, CLTFC has shown strides in their character and willingness to fight for each other. Before the match against the Union, interim head coach Christian Lattanzio touched on how the team challenges and supports each other, and are “coming together more and more as a group on a daily basis.”

This unity within the team was no more evident than in their resounding win tonight as their dream run to the playoff remains very much alive. Another shot to keep fighting is on Wednesday at home against the Columbus Crew.

HIGHLIGHTS: Charlotte FC vs. Philadelphia Union