The cities of Charlotte and St. Louis have historically never had any sort of rivalry but you wouldn't have known that tuning into this match. Emotions were high for both teams, cards were shown left and right, and with the help of some fortune, St. Louis prevailed over Charlotte FC winning their first-ever home match. Despite the scoreline, Charlotte did show an overall improved performance that was clouded by individual errors.
Lineup: Sisniega, Bronico, Tuiloma, Malanda, Byrne, Jones, Westwood, Shinyashiki, Jóźwiak, Świderski, Copetti
There was an early scare in the 5th minute when Pablo Sisniega took too long to clear the ball and St. Louis's striker Nicholas Gioacchini managed to steal it in the box. It was nearly a catastrophic mistake but Charlotte's defense manage to extinguish the fire. However, Sisniega was quick to make up for his mistake when he made a terrific stretched save in the 14th minute to deny St. Louis the opening goal.
Off another great save from Sisniega, Charlotte FC quickly countered and silenced the crowd with their first goal of the season in the 26th minute. St. Louis were caught in transition as Kamil Jóźwiak drove the ball upfield. He found Karol Świderski out wide where the Pole then was quick to deliver a ball into the box where Enzo Copetti opened up his MLS scoring account by directing it into the back of the net.
After the goal, Charlotte were able to gain control of the match after a hectic start. However, the entire momentum shifted in an instance when CLTFC's Bill Tuiloma went to head a ball in the 41st minute but it took an unfortunate trajectory back into his own net. As if that wasn't brutal enough, CLTFC conceded a penalty right before the half when a cross from St. Louis hit Świderski's hand as he attempted to intercept the incoming ball. St. Louis's midfielder Eduard Löwen made no mistake in burying the penalty and giving the home team the lead before the half.
Lineup: Sisniega, Bronico, Tuiloma, Malanda, Byrne, Jones, Westwood, Shinyashiki (67'), Jóźwiak, Świderski (67'), Copetti
Substitutes: Vargas (67'), Santos (67'), Gaines (84'), Westwood (84')
The first 10 minutes of the second half were the opposite of the first 10. Both teams were feeling each other out to see if either had any significant tactical changes at the half. The first chance didn't come until the 59th minute when St. Louis striker João Klauss received the ball in the box at an awkward angle and only managed to dink a shot that went right to Sisniega.
Right as Charlotte started getting into a rhythm, an uncharacteristic mistake from CLTFC center back Adilson Malanda in the 71st minute gifted St. Louis their third of the match. He attempted a pass back to his keeper but didn't see João Klauss to his side prowling for a pass just like the one he intercepted and chipped Sisniega for his 2nd of the season.
CLTFC substitutions Kerwin Vargas and Nuno Santos made their presence known, igniting the the attack for the Crown late into the half. They linked up in the 75th minute with a pinpoint cross from Vargas who put it right into Santos's path where he had an open header but just couldn't redirect enough making it an easy save for Roman Bürki. The Crown created some half chances as the match came to an end but the damage had already been done.
Charlotte FC return home this week to face Atlanta United on Saturday, March 11th at 12PM at Bank of America Stadium.