Early Promising Signs in Charlotte FC's 3-0 Preseason Rout of LA Galaxy

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Following a series of gloomy, rainy days marking Charlotte FC’s arrival in California, the club's first Coachella Invitational match brought sunlight – literally and figuratively. The sun finally emerged, setting the stage for a perfect day of football as Charlotte squared off against the LA Galaxy, offering fans a preview of Dean Smith's vision for the team.

The initial impression left by Smith’s side was undoubtedly positive. They routed the Galaxy with a 3-0 victory and their first clean sheet of the Smith era. While the Galaxy controlled more the match in the opening 30 minutes than Smith would have liked, he was left proud of his players’ performance

“I saw a real good resilience, we showed lots of character, kept going as a group, and worked extremely hard,” praised Smith.


Charlotte's defensive organization and cohesion frustrated the Galaxy's attempts to create scoring opportunities, keeping the match level at 0-0 heading into halftime. The second half brought changes, one of which was striker Enzo Copetti in to replace a Patrick Agyemang who put in a solid shift for his side in the first half and continues to impress in preseason.

Copetti wasted no time in showing what he brings to the team. His well-timed run and composed finish off a superb pass from Iuri Tavares opened the scoring for Charlotte. His movement and relentlessness impacted the game on all fronts, highlighting why Smith was quick to dismiss any rumors of his departure.

“He’s a Charlotte FC player and it will stay that way this season,” emphasized Smith. “We aren’t looking to offload him. He’s an integral part of the squad. As you saw today, he’s hard-running, he knows where the goal is, won the foul for the free kick, and scored a good goal as well. He made a difference when he came on at halftime.”

While preseason outcomes aren't definitive, victories undoubtedly boost team morale during the adjustment to a new system. With just over two weeks until the season opener, Charlotte must expedite their adaptation process. Smith's training philosophy focuses on challenging players with constant decision-making scenarios to hasten their development.

“We’re working on accelerating the learning process by giving them constant problems to solve. They have to become really good problem solvers on the pitch because they’re making decisions very quickly all the time. The only way to help them become better decision makers is to put them under constant stress to make decisions.”

Charlotte FC's win and clean sheet against the Galaxy signifies a step forward, but like any side under a new manager, they are far from the finished product. 

"We're making strides, but there's still much work to be done. Continuous growth and development will be key throughout the season.”



It's official. Season Three kicks off on Saturday, February 24 at 7:30PM ET. Get ready for a new beginning for Charlotte FC.