IOTM RB A

Charlotte FC will end their season against an all too familiar foe in the New York Red Bulls. It was a comfortable 2 - 0 win for Charlotte the last time these sides met back in June but this time around the Red Bulls will be the hosts.

Here are the three ingredients of the match:

Capitalize on Circumstance 

Charlotte and the Red Bulls are in complete opposite frames of mind heading into this match. On one hand, you have Charlotte who are out of playoff contention but haven’t lost in four straight matches, winning three of them including a thrashing of MLS Cup favorites Philadelphia Union. 

While on the other hand you have the Red Bulls who have already clinched their playoff spot but have just come off back-to-back losses for the first time this season. The combination of having already clinched a playoff spot plus a bad run of form can be circumstances that a confident CLTFC can take advantage of. 

Maximizing the Inverted Fullbacks 

Fittingly Charlotte is ending the season against the team where interim head coach Christian Lattanzio made his managerial debut all the way back in August. In that match, it quickly became apparent that inverted fullbacks were an integral part of Lattanzio’s system.  

Against the Red Bulls, it worked particularly well because of the way NYRB likes to press. Pinching in your fullbacks helps provide more passing outlets as they serve as almost two additional midfielders. Charlotte were able to pass through Red Bull’s notorious press and it allowed for scoring opportunities. 

The Red Bulls will press notoriously like they always do but Charlotte already has a solution for it. The team has only gotten more comfortable in their usage of inverted fullbacks and utilizing them to bypass the press could lead to a clean sweep of New York. 

Finish Strong

Even though Charlotte are out of playoff contention they can still finish their season on a high note. The team has an opportunity to close out the season by extending their four-match unbeaten streak to five at Red Bull Arena. 

“The last game for us is important because we want to finish well and because morally, we need to honor the league and the clubs who are still in contention,” said interim head coach Christian Lattanzio. “We need to try our best because we had this mini-season in mind, the last five games, and so far, we have 3 wins and a draw and we want to keep our momentum.” 

Momentum that can be carried into year two of the Club. In addition to that, there’s also a competitive advantage Charlotte can gain by finishing as high on the table as possible this season. With the addition of the revamped MLS and Liga MX competition, Leagues Cup, debuting in the 2023 season, there is a further incentive in finishing with as many points as possible. 

Where you rank in the Supporter’s Shield race determines whether you serve as a host in Leagues Cup and the opponents you play. It's a high-stakes competition as three CONCACAF Champions League spots and a substantial cash prize are on the line. All in all, finishing the season strong puts the team both mentally and competitively in a more beneficial position heading into their second season.

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. Score big with deals from great brands like Takis Rolled Tortilla and Takis Waves Chips from Barcel USA, Red Bull Energy Drinks and Ready to Drink Cold Brew and Draft Lattes from La Colombe for your matchday personal prep! Harris Teeter, an Official Grocery Store of Charlotte FC!