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It's been a while since the last Mailbag, so I'm looking forward to diving into . This edition of Mailbag will focus on the new interim head coach Christan Lattanzio's utilization of fullbacks, players that have benefitted under him, and breaking down the team's goal-scoring so far this season.

Was the tactic of having the fullbacks come inside and support the midfield a feature of [Christian] Lattanzio’s tactics or just a game plan against Red Bull? Ben, Charlotte, NC 

Two matches into Lattanzio’s tenure and I think it’s safe to say that inverted fullbacks are part of his game model. Inverted fullbacks pinch inwards, and as you mentioned, are there to support the midfield. 

How they support is by overloading the midfield, providing another passing outlet that helps progress the ball forward. This also helps to free up space for the box-to-box midfielders (8s) to operate. 

Against the Red Bulls, you may have noticed Ben Bender receiving the ball in more space than he normally has. This really allowed him to get involved in the game, ultimately scoring a goal from a sequence that started with right back Harrison Afful. 

It also benefits the wingers, as it isolates them wide, putting them 1 v 1 scenarios. In that same NYRB match, we saw McKinze Gaines cause havoc down the right flank, using his speed to win those 1 v 1s. 

The team tried to do the same against the Columbus Crew, but the Crew’s formation of a back three helped limit the influence of the inverted fullbacks. However, the team is still very much adjusting to what is a feature of Lattanzio’s game model.

With interim Head Coach Lattanzio getting more comfortable in his position, who do you think will be a sleeper hit from the roster that we have yet to see much of? – Bobby, Winston-Salem, NC

I think we are already seeing some of these “sleepers” under Lattanzio that we didn’t see much of before now. A perfect example is what I just talked about regarding inverted fullbacks.

We saw very little of Afful until these past weeks. Largely in part due to the tactical shift to inverted fullbacks, a role that Harrison is very well suited to playing.

The center back duo of Anton Walkes and Jan Sobociński are others who have benefited under Lattanzio and that we may see more of. Sobociński made his MLS debut and Lattanzio was quoted as saying Walkes is “one of the best defenders in this league.”

Walkes has clearly gone up the pecking order, but it will be interesting to see how the return of Fuchs affects his playing time.

And then there is Titi Ortiz, who came in as the number ten, but had seen limited minutes until now. He’s just made two straight starts under Lattanzio who rates him highly. He’s a player who can produce moments of magic, which you can see in training, but now he has the opportunity to show it on the pitch to fans.

Is the lack of quality in the final third something to be worried about? It feels as if we have been wasteful all season in the final third. As a team that is going to be pushing hard for a playoff spot missed chances like we have, could end up being crucial mistakes down the line. Interested to hear your thoughts and whether that can be an easy fix under the new manager. Rayan, Charlotte, NC

Looking at the data, Charlotte FC has 17.8 expected goals (xG) for the season but have scored 16 total goals. So yes, the team is underperforming the xG, but the encouraging part is that it's not by much – 1.8 goals to be exact (quick maths).

There is never an easy fix but as obvious as it sounds, creating more high-quality chances will aid this department. CLTFC has struggled all season to create scoring opportunities, and because there have been so few quality chances, misses are more impactful. 

But the team looks to be trending in a positive direction when it comes to this. The team produced its highest xG of the season against the Red Bulls with 2.3, and their second highest total against the Vancouver Whitecaps with 2.1, both within the last five matches. 

To further contextualize this let’s look at the xG average for the first eight matches compared to the last eight. 

First 8 matches: 0.88 xG 

Last 8 matches: 1.31 xG 

I think what will be more impactful to the season is the current struggle at creating chances away from home.  

Home: 1.43 xG

Away: 0.76 xG

For the team to have a shot at playoffs, improving their chance creation and limiting mistakes away from home will significantly help the team’s playoff goals.

Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized Sir Mintys or 1 Sir Minty-sized duck? – Will, Gastonia, NC 

Now on to the toughest question of this edition of Mailbag... and I have to go with the 100 duck-sized Sir Mintys. I’d just be duck feed against a Sir Minty-sized duck, I wouldn’t stand a chance.

It's going to be fascinating to see how the team develops under Lattanzio as well as the myth of Sir Minty. But 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.