CHARLOTTE – Almost poetically, Charlotte FC beat D.C. United by the same exact score line they lost by in their first-ever MLS match. It was a dominant performance that puts the Crown back on track in their playoff hunt.
The first half was indicative of how the match would go. It was a one sided affair with CLTFC enjoying most of the possession and scoring opportunities. However, the first 25 minutes were particularly threatening for the Crown.
They had some clear-cut chances as early as in the 11th minute when a great cross by Karol Swiderski met Yordy Reyna in the middle of the box who shot just too close to the goalkeeper. Świderski and Reyna were once again involved in the build-up just two minutes later but this time Świderski was on the end of the cross from Joseph Mora. The Pole headed the balls towards the back post, creating danger which led to the opening goal of the match with an own goal from D.C. defender Steven Birnbaum.
Winger McKinze Gaines almost got himself a goal off a lovely header and even better save in the 23rd minute. CLTFC could have been up by more goals going into the half but were well in control of the match holding 59% of the possession and outshooting D.C. by eight shots.
An hour into the match, things got stale and the crowd began to quiet down but they had something to cheer for in the 64th minute when CLTFC scored two goals back-to-back. Świderski topped off an excellent performance with a goal for himself while Quinn McNeill scored his first MLS goal three minutes later.
In the end, it was a comfortable win for the Crown that will lift the team’s spirit and confidence.
Something that CLTFC have struggled with this season is closing games early on. Too many times they’ve allowed opponents back into the match by not finishing their chances or getting complacent. However, they did not leave anything to chance against D.C.
CLTFC took advantage of their chances and sealed the game with two goals that made it all but impossible for D.C. to come back. Being closers will be important in making sure vital points don’t slip away in Charlotte’s playoff push.