Charlotte FC Head Coach Christian Lattanzio said heading into their first 2023 U.S. Open Match against Tormenta FC that the Club was taking their opponents seriously despite them playing in the third division of U.S. Soccer. He backed that up by starting an almost full strength lineup that comfortably got the job done to advance to the next round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Lineup: Kahlina, Lindsey, Malanda, Tuiloma (20'), Sobociński, Jones, Bronico, Jóźwiak (35'), Copetti, Gaines
Substitutions: Byrne (20'), Cambridge (35')
In his first CLTFC start since returning from injury, Kristijan Kahlina was called into action immediately when an early flurry of shots from Tormenta tested the Croatian in the opening minutes of the match. It was an early wake up call for the Crown who responded by taking a hold of the match.
Charlotte had to make an early substitution in the 20th minute when Bill Tuiloma received a knock and was replaced by Nathan Byrne. Four minutes later, Charlotte found the opener from an astounding half-bicycle kick from an on fire Kamil Józwwiak. McKinze Gaines lofted in the initial cross and Chris Hegardt – who made his first start for the club – picked up the assist by heading the cross back in Jóźwiak's path.
Józwwiak was sharp and threatening but his night came to an early end when he went down with an apparent injury in the 35th minute. 21-year-old winger, Brandon Cambridge replaced the Pole on the wing. After being on the back foot for the majority of the first 35 minutes, Tormenta were able to regroup after the brief injury break and matched Charlotte's play for the remainder of the half.
Lineup: Kahlina, Lindsey, Malanda, Sobociński, Byrne, Jones, Bronico (64'), Cambridge, Copetti (65'), Gaines
Substitutions: Privett (64'), Świderski (65')
Just two minutes into the second half Tormenta's Davey Mason picked up his second yellow when he tripped up Hegardt on a counter attack leaving the visitors down to 10 men. Charlotte made the most of their numerical advantage by keeping Tormenta pinned in their own half and scoring another three goals.
In the 55th minute, Cambridge battled for the ball down by the goal line, immediately put it in the central danger zone to an awaiting Enzo Copetti who tapped in CLTFC's second goal of the night. The Argentine nearly doubled his tally on the night in the 62nd minute when he headed a ball just wide of the goal on a set piece.
Normally not known for his goal scoring threat, Derrick Jones took a left footed shot from outside the box that took a fortunate deflection into the back of Tormenta's net for Charlotte's third of the night. Tormenta managed to get a consolation goal from a wonder strike outside the box in the 82nd minute, but any hope of mounting a comeback was quickly extinguished by Karol Świderski. Some shifty dribbling from the Pole gave him enough space to slice a shot in the bottom right corner sealing the match.
Cambridge will be disappointed to have been sent off for a second yellow in the 92nd minute but it did no harm as Charlotte FC sealed their spot in the next round of the U.S. Open Cup.
GOAL! Kamil Jozwiak Volleys It Home | U.S. Open Cup | CLTFC vs SGA