Ahead of Charlotte FC’s crucial Eastern Conference matchup with Orlando City SC on Sunday, Head Coach Christian Lattanzio and goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina spoke to media in a virtual press conference.
When CLTFC last faced Orlando, they suffered a 2-1 loss at Exploria Stadium on April 30th. Since then, Lattanzio has taken over the squad and put his own stamp on things to continue improving in all facets.
“Each coach inevitably has his own way of interpreting situations. We are different [from then] because I like to focus on certain things. And so, we will play slightly different from when we played in Orlando [the first time], of course.
“We are a team with a lot of potential and possibilities, still. I want us to improve game-to-game, as well as tactically, in the way that we defend against the kinds of challenges the opposition will bring us.”
After a massive win on the road against New York City FC, Lattanzio expressed his excitement to be returning to Bank of America Stadium, where Charlotte FC fans have put the first-year club in the top tier of average MLS attendance.
“We want to fight every game until the end, because we have a fanbase that deserves that. They’ve shown a lot of love to this team from day one. They keep showing passion, and we want them to keep showing us that because they give us so much strength and enthusiasm.
“We want to play in a way that makes them proud and makes them get behind the team even more, even though they would probably be anyway! But we need to deserve that and cannot take it for granted.”
Goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina echoed his head coach’s sentiments. According to the Croatian, he has friends across the country who always ask him about the crazy atmosphere in Charlotte.
“They ask me every time, ‘What is this? These are the craziest fans, and all your games are so nice to watch.’ Everybody who comes here, they want to feel this atmosphere.
“Even in this press conference, I want to call all our fans to come on Sunday to support us one more time like they have until now. Because, for us, we have eight finals starting from Sunday.”
As always, the goal is to qualify for the playoffs. With only eight games remaining and the margins become ever thinner, the importance of getting three points becomes increasingly apparent.
“We need to come with our support 100% ready and focused to take the win. It doesn’t matter how – we just need to take the win to have better chances to reach the playoffs, which is our target.”