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Full Time | Charlotte FC Falls Just Short in 1-0 Loss to Philadelphia Union

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First Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Byrne, Malanda, Tuiloma, Afful, Jones, Bronico, Westwood, Vargas, Świderski, Meram

It was almost a disastrous start for the Crown when they were caught sleeping early leading to a Julian Carranza shot off the crossbar just 30 seconds into the match. It served as an early wake-up call for Charlotte for what was going to be an intense match. Both teams spent the opening portion of the half trying to get into a rhythm but each prevented each other from doing so through aggressive, tenacious play.

In the 17th minute, Philadelphia broke through Charlotte's defense with a 3rd man run but a quick recovery Adilson Malanda extinguished an otherwise dangerous scenario. The visiting side followed it up with a good passing sequence that led to a Karol Świderski headed opportunity on target but just didn't have enough power to threaten Philly goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Charlotte kept the pressure, and 5 minutes later, created another good opportunity from a failed Philadelphia clearance that Justin Meram hit just wide of the net. After a game of tug-of-war, Philadelphia thought they had the opening goal in the 34th minute but it was just offside and confirmed after VAR review. Just moments after, Charlotte's Kerwin Vargas thought he gave his side the lead but a heroic block from the home side denied him.

One of the last scoring opportunities of the half came in the 42nd minute when a cleared ball off a corner landed to Jose Martinez, who let it rip from a distance and nearly scored a screamer. Philadelphia finished the half with a series of menacing corner kicks that Charlotte survived to keep it goalless heading into the half.

Second Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Byrne, Malanda, Tuiloma (78'), Afful (70'), Jones, Bronico (78'), Westwood, Vargas (60'), Świderski, Meram (60')

Substitutes: Agyemang (60'), Vargas (60'), Mora (70'), Sobocińki (78'), Cambridge (78')

Despite the Union having most of the ball in the opening ten minutes of the second half, it was Charlotte that managed the first shot on target coming from Vargas cutting in on his left foot to force a save out of Blake. In the 60th minute, CLTFC center back Guzmán Corujo made his return to the pitch for the first time since August 2022 after recovering from an ACL tear.

Following the substitutions from Charlotte, Philadelphia put pressure on as centerback Jakob Glesnes decided to test the keeper himself with a stinging shot that Kristijan Kahlina easily managed to control. The first goal of the match came in the 70th minute with a bit of fortune, Daniel Gazdag headed a cross that bounced off the goal post into Kahlina's leg and then back into the net for what went down as an own goal.

Charlotte chased the equalizer, pushing number forwards and asking questions of the Union but with little success. Another goal was called offside against the Union in the 75th minute, Gazdag thought he sealed the match for his team. In the end it didn't matter as the home side was able to retain their lead to extend their unbeaten streak to eight.

The Crown will have little time to dwell on the loss as they head to Ohio to face the Columbus Crew for the second time this season.