CHARLOTTE – Charlotte FC look to keep pushing for playoffs under some unique circumstances against the Columbus Crew. The match will restart where it left off when the teams initially were meant to play each other back in late July. The same lineup on that day has to be used once again this time around so players who have recently seen diminished minutes like Yordy Reyna, Quinn McNeill, Ben Bender, Jan Sobocinski and Joseph Mora are likely to get the start.
“I think it’s an opportunity for them to show their work, their qualities, and the fact that they work well in training,” said interim head coach Christian Lattanzio. “Our boys train really well, with a lot of intensity, and they are improving in many different aspects on a daily basis both individually and collective. Therefore, I believe this is an opportunity for them to show the work they do on a weekly basis. They are ready to play in this important game for us and they have the trust of all of us because we know how well they train.”
The Club is coming off a resounding 4 – 0 win against the Philadelphia Union, with all goals coming from Daniel Ríos. Charlotte FC earned back-to-back Player of the Week honors with Ríos taking home the award after Karol Świderski did prior to him. However, for Lattanzio, the award being given to the striker also serves as credit for the whole team behind him.
“It’s great for the club to have Back-to-Back player of the weeks... For me, when a striker gets Player of the Week it’s almost like the whole team gets credit. Because they create for him, they play from the back, they develop the game, they penetrate for them, get an assist but to be at the end of that, you still have to be there, and it’s not easy.”
Preparing the team with the "bizarre" rules for this match has been interesting, to say the least, but at the end of the day it’s another must win match for the Crown and it remains business as usual. The Club has gotten three massive wins in a row but Lattanzio stresses the team must stay humble because the job is not yet done.
“It’s the same as last week, if we didn’t win, we were out. We prepare like we’ve always prepared because we believe in the way we work... We approach every game knowing that every week we play also strong teams. The boys do well, have done well, and I think we will approach this game like the others – with humility but with ambition to play a really strong game. We will try to do our best like we always do. We will give it our best shot.”