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CHARLOTTE – Charlotte FC came out on the front foot and forced a very good Austin FC team to turtle in their own half for most of the match. However, the pattern of controlling matches but not closing them continues to haunt the Crown in their 0 - 1 loss to Austin. Interim head coach, Christian Lattanzio, had mixed feelings about the performance.

“I am happy and frustrated I said to the boys after the game because I thought it was a very one-sided second half. That I would have been disappointed even to draw, let alone lose it.

“And they are a good team, we know they are a good team, with good players and they couldn’t find those good players apart from glimpses and flashes. Which means our boys were pressing the ball well, coming forward well. But then we have to be a lot better in the last third.”

“I believe we will improve that, and unfortunately in games like this you come out and feel frustration because I think that the boys deserved a lot more than they got.”

Austin came out of the gates trying physically impose themselves as they tried to bully CLTFC like they’ve done with so many other teams this season. However, Charlotte’s players were not having any of it and were able to match Austin’s physicality.

“I think our boys already showed against Red Bulls, who are a very, very physical team, that they can accept the physical challenge from everyone. This is also a compliment because when they want to become physical and try to intimidate you, but our boys were not intimidated.

“And they played a strong game, and in the second half, they imposed their own style. Against a team that has a strong style as well. So, credit to the boys, they played really well and didn’t allow them many chances apart from occasional counter attacks.”

Going back to the Club’s struggles in the final third, Lattanzio recognizes that it is the area that needs the most improvement. The team has done well to arrive in the final third but once there, that final, killer ball is still lacking.

“In one sense it was rewarding because we camped in their own half. But it was also disappointing because we didn’t create the danger we could and should create spending so much time in the opponent’s half.”

“This is a wake-up call in the sense that we have to really work very, very hard in finishing the job, to complete the job.”

Fortunately for CLTFC, they have the opportunity to move on from the gut-wrenching loss with their match against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday. Lattanzio says that the team has no time to “feel sorry for ourselves” as they have a critical match right around corner.

“We had enough of the ball to create more dangerous chances. And listen, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We need to move on, we have an important and difficult game on Sunday. We have to regroup and work as strong as we did and even more. Every day has to be a step forward to play the game that we want to play.”

“I don’t think we are from seeing a very exciting team, and I think that the boys are growing in confidence and growing in managing the game.”