Home Advantage: Charlotte FC's Critical Month Ahead

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Charlotte FC presently stands with 11 points from 10 matches – a tally that may seem lower than the team's aspirations. As they approach the one-third mark of the season, The Crown face a pivotal period that could shape their campaign.

In May, Charlotte is slated to contest four out of their six matches at Bank of America Stadium, where they've amassed 10 of their 11 points across five fixtures. Prior to a recent setback against Minnesota United, the team boasted an impressive 14-match unbeaten streak at home across all competitions stretching back to 2023.

This upcoming month presents an opportunity for Charlotte to reignite their season in front of an always raucous crowd at home.

Significance of Home Advantage

In every soccer league across the world, getting results at home is the cornerstone of a successful season. This holds especially true in Major League Soccer. Compared to Europe's top four leagues, America’s top-flight stands out as the most challenging league to secure positive results away from home.

A glance at Points Per Game (PPG) averages in away matches in Europe’s top four leagues and MLS reveals that, on average, MLS teams earn fewer points on the road (based on the 2023 MLS season and 2022-23 European season):

  • MLS – 0.98 PPG
  • Premier League – 1.08 PPG
  • La Liga – 1.09 PPG
  • Bundesliga – 1.08 PPG
  • Serie A – 1.2 PPG

Various factors contribute to this trend, including extensive travel distances resulting in diminished away fan support and a higher level of parity across MLS. Consequently, it heightens the importance of home results in the league.

With the introduction of the new playoff format, the average minimum points required to secure a playoff berth over the past two seasons stands at 42 points (1.24 PPG). Hypothetically, a team that wins all 17 home fixtures would amass 51 points (1.5 PPG), sufficient for playoff qualification without securing a single away point.

While achieving perfection at home is unrealistic, it underscores the significance of a formidable home record in propelling a team forward.

More Points Per Game Thoughts

Let’s look at this from a deeper Points Per Game perspective. If The Crown wins all four home games in May (12 points), they would be averaging at least 1.5 Points Per Game (PPG) over the month. If they pick up points in their additional two away matches, that PPG would rise even further.

Why is 1.5 PPG a critical benchmark? First, we saw that the 42-point target is 1.24 PPG overall, so exceeding that puts a team in the playoffs comfortably.

Additionally, the Philadelphia Union have earned 1.44 PPG so far in 2024 as they sit in the seventh and final automatic playoff spot. The top four teams who would earn home-field advantage in the first round of playoffs if the post-season started tomorrow have all earned 1.6 PPG or better. The closer a team can get to (or exceed) that 1.5 PPG number, the safer they can feel in the playoff places.

Charlotte FC currently has 1.1 PPG in 11th place. If the team wants to surpass their Wild Card playoff qualification (8th and 9th place) from 2023, they will need to leverage the month of May and take as many points as possible to set themselves up for a good run-in during the last half of the regular season.

The Fortress

Since the inaugural 2022 season, Charlotte FC is tied for the 10th-best home record in MLS, positioning them in the upper third of teams in the league. This season, they currently occupy the joint-5th position for most points accrued at home. It's clear The Crown has cultivated a competitive edge at the Fortress.

The 12 points up for grabs at home in May presents an opportunity to set up the team for success for the rest of the 2024 campaign. Despite some formidable matchups, featuring the Portland Timbers’ 3rd-best attack (20 goals), Southeastern rival Nashville SC, the Western Conference-leading LA Galaxy, and 2022 MLS Cup Finalists Philadelphia Union, Bank of America Stadium has proven to be an equalizing force against any adversaries.

This entire discussion, then, takes us back to Charlotte’s fandom, which has quickly garnered a reputation as one of the best in the league. The support of the 12th man will be pivotal during this critical juncture as The Crown looks to reclaim their dominance at home and put themselves on pace for a second consecutive year of playoff qualification.

Four Saturdays. Four Matches. For The Crown.

Four Saturdays. Four Matches. For The Crown.

Party with Charlotte FC all month long! It’s match MAYhem as The Crown hosts a home match every Saturday in May.