Full Time

Full Time: Charlotte FC Take All Three Points From LA Galaxy


Charlotte FC flew to the West Coast and took a pivotal three points against the last-placed LA Galaxy. Justin Meram extended his club-record streak of goal contributions with another corner kick assist to Karol Swiderski for the match-winner.

First Half

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

Charlotte FC started the match well, creating a few dangerous chances in the opening 15 minutes. The best of the bunch came in the 5th minute when a recycled free kick fell to Harrison Afful far from goal. He found Karol Swiderski streaking in behind with an excellent ping, and Swiderski’s first touch was exceptional. However, his second with the shot was less so and scuffed wide of the goal.

The LA Galaxy then came alive, testing Kristijan Kahlina for the first time in the 17th minute through star striker Chicharito. A few minutes later, the Galaxy executed a perfect counter from a CLTFC attacking corner, finding winger Tyler Boyd streaking in on the right side. He squared it across goal for a wide open Chicharito, but the pass came in the air and his diving stretch put the ball just past the post.

In the 30th minute, the Crown hit back through Kerwin Vargas cutting in on his left foot from the right side. His stinging shot, though, was well pushed over the bar by LA goalkeeper Jonathan Bond. Later, a poor clearance fell straight to Ashley Westwood, who caught all of it with the laces. Judging by his distraught reaction, it was destined for the bottom corner before being blocked.

Just before halftime, CLTFC weathered a storm of quality LA chances stemming mainly from self-inflicted wounds. Adilson Malanda first left a back pass to Kahlina short, but Chicharito’s attempted cross was blocked superbly by a scrambling Bill Tuiloma.

Then, Tyler Boyd was slipped in behind and Kahlina got caught in two minds between charging the winger and staying on his line. He eventually decided to come, but was too late and Boyd skipped by him. His touch, however, took him too far, and the Charlotte defense did well in emergency defending to eventually get the ball clear and get to half tied at zero.

Second Half

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

Substitutions: Agyemang, Cambridge, Sobocinski

It was a fairly even opening ten minutes of the second half. Chicharito picked up a yellow card mere seconds after the whistle, and both teams had some decent chances on either end that they didn’t have the final bit of magic to finish off.

Vargas then created a brilliant chance in the 55th minute by flying past his defender on the wing and putting in a good cross for Swiderski on the front post. He did well to get something on it, and Bond pulled off a great save with his right foot to deny the Polish striker the opener.

Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney made two changes on the hour mark, bringing on Daniel Aguirre and Raheem Edwards. The latter immediately flashed into the side of the box and forced Kahlina to block his cross at the near post.

For both teams, the connection between right winger and striker was paying dividends. Boyd found Chicharito again in the 63rd for a side volley that Kahlina parried and eventually corralled, and in the 69th Vargas whipped in another dangerous cross and Swiderski redirected it over the crossbar.

Charlotte FC finally found the breakthrough in the 74th minute through Swiderski, who found himself free for a tap-in on the back post. Meram provided yet another assist from a corner kick, stretching his CLTFC-record streak of goal contributions in MLS matches to five.

The Galaxy immediately pushed for the equalizer with multiple good chances. Chicharito got in behind just a minute after the CLTFC goal but only found the outside of the side netting from a tight angle. Charlotte FC then found themselves scrambling again in a numbers-down situation, but the Galaxy couldn’t get a clean shot away.

CLTFC’s job got a bit easier in the 85th minute, as Derrick Jones put out a fire on top of his own eighteen and was taken down hard by Chicharito. The Mexican striker picked up his second yellow card of the match and was sent off, leaving his team down to ten men.

Dejan Joveljic, who subbed in just before Chicharito’s red card, put a cross right on Boyd’s chest for a well-attempted bicycle kick wide of the goal.

Head Coach Christian Lattanzio went to his bench to preserve the result throughout the second half. Brandon Cambridge, Jan Sobocinski, and Patrick Agyemang – making his MLS debut – all helped see out the result and bring home a crucial three points for the Crown.