CHARLOTTE – Tonight the team felt something they haven’t in a while – losing in front of their fans at home. C.F. Montreal ended Charlotte’s four match win streak at home with a 0 – 2 loss, but not without a fight from the home side.
There is only one way to describe the first half – scrappy. For the most part both teams were rigid, not looking to commit too many numbers forward to keep their shape and structure.
Neither team could really take over the game as they tussled for control. But early on, Montreal was able to create some dangerous chances from combinations but CLTFC was fortunate not to concede.
Charlotte came inches away from scoring when Andre Shinyashiki curled a shot that hit the post and fell to Alan Franco who couldn’t finish the rebound. But just as Charlotte FC began to improve, Montreal scored in the dying minutes of the first half from the usual suspect, Djorde Mahailovic.
After a pedestrian first half from CLTFC, the Crown came out sprinting the first half. The team was sharper and more aggressive, taking the match to Montreal unlike in the first half. But almost like déjà vu from the first half, Montreal scored against the run of play from an Alistair Johnston goal in the 68th minute.
In the end, it was too tall of a mountain to climb for Charlotte FC as they valiantly pushed until the very end to come back. Montreal stood strong and now make it eight straight matches unbeaten.
Too Much Respect
The first half of the match was reminiscent of CLTFC’s game against the Philadelphia Union. In that match, Charlotte approached the game with a lot of respect for the Union... too much.
They played conservatively, looking like a team that was playing for a draw rather than to win. The first half of this match was much the same. Montreal, like the Union, is an excellent team and Charlotte played it safe.
But in the second half, Charlotte couldn’t play it safe anymore because they were down a goal. The result – a team that was braver and was able to not only compete against but challenge the 3rd seed in the East.
Had the team approached the match with less respect for Montreal and more belief in their own ability, the night could have ended differently. Charlotte FC has what it takes to compete against the best sides in MLS, but trusting in their own ability to do so from the start will be key in getting results against the best sides.
But it's not the end of the world for Charlotte – Montreal are one of the best teams in the league and there is still two-thirds of the season left to play for. In the short term, CLTFC will be back at Bank of America Stadium next week to defend their home turf against another Canadian opponent, the Vancouver Whitecaps.