CHARLOTTE – Charlotte FC are in their best form of the season but unfortunately, they picked up steam just a bit too late. Now out of playoff contention and with one final match to go, interim head coach Christian Lattanzio reminisces on the rollercoaster of the season.
“Only football can give you this kind of mixed emotions, in a way it looks like a very long season for what happened, but in another way feel like we are ready to play a lot more, a lot more. And so, it's kind of contradictory, what I'm talking about, but it's actually the reality of our feelings. We would have loved to go further to carry on this form a little bit longer in the season, but at the same time, we think is good to end an activity with more appetite.”
Lattanzio and his team will end the season facing the same team that the Italian made his managerial debut against, the New York Red Bulls. As a previous assistant coach of New York City FC and having already play NYRB twice this season, the interim head coach is all too familiar with the opponents on Sunday.
“We know Red Bulls is a very strong team. We have a lot of respect for them, we already played against them and it’s always a challenge, it’s always a big game. It’s the third game in a week, so we need to take that into consideration but we want to always put the best team that we can or that will give us the best chance to win the game.”
“Red Bulls, they have a very clear identity in their own football group. That's what we want to build here. To have a clear identity, not exactly the same, but to have an identity. They play always with this ability to press, to be aggressive, to be in your face. Very good in transitions so we need to be careful of that."
“We need to play our game, but at the same time be careful of those moments in which they can capitalize and punish if we allow them to do. It's going to be a tough game physically."
Even though Charlotte won’t be playing for playoffs, Lattanzio stresses that they will approach the match with the same competitiveness as a playoff match.
“To finish on a good note is great because it would leave everybody with a sweet taste in the mouth and for many different reasons, but I think our boys here, obviously like every professional footballer, are very competitive and they will want to win the game because that's what they do. They play to win, they play to beat the opponent, to impose themselves. So for us, every game is very, very important."