Ingredients of the Match

Final Third Decision Making | Ingredients of the Match


Charlotte FC hosts the 2023 MLS Cup Champions, Columbus Crew, in their return to Bank of America Stadium.

Here are the three ingredients of the match:

Final Third Decision Making

Dean Smith emphasizes the pivotal role of decision-making in team improvement, stressing its importance at the individual level as the foundation for collective success.

While Charlotte has shown the ability to advance into the final attacking third across their first four matches, their individual decision-making in crucial moments has been inconsistent. Whether it's selecting the right pass or executing precise shooting techniques, lapses in decision-making have cost them potential goals so far this season.

Despite boasting the stingiest defense statistically – conceding only 2.9 Expected Goals Allowed (xGA) in their initial four matches, the best mark in the Eastern Conference – Charlotte's offensive output remains middling. With an Expected Goals (xG) of 5.4, they've only managed to convert three goals, highlighting the need for improvement in decision-making within the final third to capitalize on scoring opportunities.

Maintaining Structure

The Columbus Crew excel in possession play, mastering the art of dragging players out of position and dismantling defensive structures to create scoring chances.

Charlotte demonstrated defensive discipline in their organization through their first three matches, making it challenging for opponents to breach their defensive lines. However, against Nashville, lapses in structure during the first half allowed their opponents to exploit gaps and threaten Charlotte's defensive stability.

It's imperative for CLTFC to maintain discipline in their defensive setup, particularly against formidable opponents like the Crew, who possess the talent to exploit any defensive lapses.

Leveraging Fan Support

Charlotte FC's last home game at Bank of America Stadium was nearly a month ago, with their 2024 season opener resulting in a victory against New York City FC on February 24th. Since then, they've been on the road, garnering only one point from their away fixtures.

“I think at the first game they [the fans] showed what they're capable of and that they can really push us forward,” said CLTFC midfielder Brecht Dejaegere following the team’s final match of their away stretch against Nashville.

Dejaegere acknowledged the pivotal role of fan support, citing their ability to provide the team with a significant push forward. Returning to their home stadium presents an opportunity for Charlotte to leverage the energy of their supporters, who have proven instrumental time and time again.

While facing the reigning MLS Cup Champions, the Columbus Crew, presents a challenge, Charlotte can rely on their fervent fan base as the great equalizer. Home advantage, as demonstrated in their 2023 home match against the Crew, could serve as a critical factor to return to winning ways against one of the league's top teams.

Girls and Women in Sports Night | Mar. 23 | 7:30 PM

Girls and Women in Sports Night | Mar. 23 | 7:30 PM

Celebrating Girls and Women in Sports Night! Including a clear fanny pack giveaway, presented by Atrium Health.