Capitalize on Mood
The Chicago Fire’s playoff dreams were crushed in their midweek loss to C.F. Montreal. A loss like that can influence a team’s drive and motivation affecting their play on the pitch. Meanwhile, Chicago are coming up against a team that is highly motivated and still has everything to play for. Charlotte are under opposite circumstances, fresh off a statement win with their playoff dreams still alive.
Capitalizing on dampened Chicago spirits with the confidence gained from the NYCFC will be a valuable edge the Crown will have over the Fire.
Extinguish the Transition
Charlotte FC have had success in pressing teams high up the pitch this season but will need to be wary of Chicago’s threat in transition. In their last outing against the Fire, it was this same high press that created Charlotte’s goal in the opening minute of the match.
However, it was this same high press that Chicago was later able to exploit to score two of their three goals. The Fire used their speed from attackers Chris Mueller and Jhon Durán combined with the vision and passing range of their talisman Xherdan Shaqiri to constantly threaten in transition.
One of the keys to making the high press work is closing down opposing players quickly to force mistakes or long passes. In the loss against the Fire, opposing players were given too much time on the ball which allowed them to find ways to bypass Charlotte’s high press. The best way to defend the transition is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Charlotte can do so by limiting the time opposing players have on the ball in addition to winning those over-the-top long balls that CLTFC midfielder Derrick Jones has done so well to do so in his recent stretch of starts.
Against NYCFC, Interim head coach Christian Lattanzio made a bold choice and started striker Karol Świderski in the attacking midfield role and it worked. Świderski served as the creative link between the defense and offense and the team improved as a whole because of it.
The Crown’s attack was fluid and dynamic with Świderski pulling the strings in the middle. They will need to do more of the same against a deceptively difficult team to break down. Playing this free-flowing soccer is not only fun for players and entertaining for fans but is effective in unlocking stingy defenses like that of Chicago’s.
In partnership with Harris Teeter, CLTFC is bringing you the Ingredients of the Match ahead of every time our team takes the pitch during this inaugural season. While the ingredients may differ from week to week, one thing we can all agree on is when it comes to matchday, it’s all about the food and the preparation and Harris Teeter has what you need. Milk, Creamers and Frozen Desserts from Planet Oat and Sunshine Energy Drinks for your matchday prep! Harris Teeter, an Official Grocery Store of Charlotte FC!