Charlotte FC's roster composition has taken a turn with the addition of new players and injured players close to returning. This edition of Mailbag will focus on how these changes will affect the team for the remainder of the season as well as some insight into the roles of the assistant coaches at the Club. Thanks once again to everyone who submitted questions and without further ado let's get right into it.
Can you break down charlotte’s coaching staff outside MAR? I love how much love MAR gets but how much are the other coaches involved? It is like NFL with position coaches? What should we know about our other coaches? – James, Charlotte, NC
Every head coach in soccer runs their staff in their own unique way. But generally, unlike the NFL, soccer head coaches overlook, interact, and work closely with every position except maybe goalkeepers.
Head coach Miguel Ramírez has a very hands-on approach in his training sessions. Not only running training sessions for the whole group but also meeting with players individually to talk about their position and role.
With that said, assistants still play a critical role in providing different perspectives as well as helping the training sessions to move smoothly. Assistant coaches Christian Lattanzio and Mikel Antía both bring a rich amount of experience, having coached at the highest levels, including in the Premier League.
In training, they equally share responsibility for making sure drills go smoothly. If there are two groups, generally Antía runs one and Lattanzio the other. As for their more specified roles, Ramírez delegates set pieces to Antía who helps create the set piece tactics and drills them in training. Lattanzio tends to focus on 1 on 1 video breakdowns with the players.
As for goalkeeping coach, Andy Quy, that’s pretty straightforward... Hope this has given you a better sense of how the assistant coaches help Ramírez, great question!
With the new players coming in and probably going to the 4-3-3 how do you see this working out for us? Faster play? better road results? Who do you think our starting 11 will be? - Lee, Denver, NC
The attackers landscape has completely shifted for Charlotte FC in recent weeks. First, Jóźwiak joins up with the team, and shortly afterward the announcement of two new forwards, Andre Shinyashiki and Kerwin Vargas, was made.
Initially, when Jóźwiak joined the squad, it was still up in the air whether or not Ramírez would opt for his preferred 433. At the time, the winger depth was still lacking, however, with the addition of Vargas and Shinyashiki, I believe it’s become clear that the 433 is here to stay.
The team now has a potential attacking core of nine:
Karol Świderski (Striker)
Daniel Ríos (Striker)
Kamil Jóźwiak (Winger)
McKinze Gaines (Winger)
Yordy Reyna (Winger)
Andre Shinyashiki (Winger/Striker)
Titi Ortiz (Attacking Mid/Winger)
Vinicius Mello (Stiker) [On the verge of returning from injury]
Kerwin Vargas (Winger) [Awaiting VISA]
The only obvious candidates to be the consistent front three of the 433 are Świderski and Jóźwiak. Jóźwiak played in his preferred left wing position against Inter Miami so the attacking position with the biggest question mark right now is right wing.
It’s anyone’s for the taking, but more likely than not, it will come down to a battle between Shinyashiki, Reyna, Gaines, or Vargas when he arrives. What was a position the club was thin in has now become heavily contested. But this is a problem that’s good to have... Ramírez has always said that having healthy competition for each position only pushes every player to be better.
For formation change itself, the team did look more dynamic on offense in their match against, an albeit, inconsistent Inter Miami. The off-ball movement was challenging to defend against for Miami as it led to CLTFC players receiving the ball in more threatening positions, with Gaines being the biggest beneficiary of it.
The Crown did give up some dangerous scoring opportunities for Miami but after playing in a 442 diamond for most of the season, adjusting to the defensive structure and behaviors of the 433 will be a new learning curve.
The roster was built with the intention of being flexible and versatile as Ramírez likes the freedom to shift and adjust according to opponents. However, it’s no secret that Ramírez wants to play a 433 and the latest signings now give him that opportunity.
In my opinion, the next 10 games will look significantly different from the first 10 with the addition of fresh players and a change in set-up. It’s going to be interesting to see how the team progresses from here on out with all the changes.
Armour is gone for the year, and Fuchs might be gone for a week or more, leaving us with only Mora and a midweek game followed by Montreal. What are our backup plans? Go to a 343? Can Jan play left back? - Jesse, Charlotte, NC
Thankfully, it turns out that Fuch’s injury was a minor one and that he is ready to go for either Richmond and/or Montreal. But with Armour out for the remainder of the season, the only natural left backs are Mora and Fuchs.
In a normal match week, that won’t pose too much of a problem but with a midweek game like the one today, it certainly complicates things. Ramírez could be forced to play Jaylin Lindsey or Harrison Afful out of position but another option would be to lean on the club’s center back depth.
Rotating center backs as needed on a match week like this one, to allow Mora and Fuchs to get the breaks they need to fill that left back role. I don’t think the team will need to opt for a switch to a 343, seeing as this is a rare week where they will play two matches and not have Anton Walkes available.
In normal circumstances, the team has sufficient depth to last until the summer transfer window, where they can look for reinforcements if desired.
That wraps up this Mailbag, if I missed your question, it could be featured in the next edition, so there is still hope! Make sure to submit any questions you may have for next time here.