Match Preview

Match Preview: Charlotte FC at Houston Dynamo FC

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Charlotte FC is back on the road this weekend for a cross-conference match against Houston Dynamo FC. Last week, the team collected 10 out of a possible 12 points from a three-match week to vault themselves to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.

Now, Head Coach’s Dean Smith will look for another away victory to keep climbing the table.

Match: Charlotte FC at Houston Dynamo FC

When: Saturday, June 29

Where: Shell Energy Stadium, Houston, TX

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV – How to Watch & Listen

Listen: WFNZ 92.7 FM (English) & WOLS 106.1 FM (Spanish)

For all other radio station affiliates in the Carolinas, click here.

Previous Matches:

Philadelphia Union 0 – 2 Charlotte FC (Major League Soccer | June 22)

D.C. United 1 – 4 Houston Dynamo FC (Major League Soccer | June 22)

Eastern Conference Table: For the full live table, click here.

1. Inter Miami CF – 41 points, 20 GP

2. FC Cincinnati – 39 points, 19 GP

3. New York Red Bulls – 34 points, 20 GP

4. Charlotte FC – 32 points, 20 GP

5. Columbus Crew – 30 points, 17 GP

6. New York City FC – 29 points, 19 GP

7. Nashville SC – 26 points, 19 GP

8. Toronto FC – 24 points, 20 GP

9. Atlanta United – 21 points, 19 GP

---------- Playoff Line ----------

Away Form Momentum

In Major League Soccer, the common wisdom has always been that away points are harder to come by in this league compared to other leagues. The numbers line up with that belief, as MLS teams earn less points on average away from home than in the top five European leagues.

However, Head Coach Dean Smith – halfway through his first season in the States – thinks this away disadvantage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In press conferences, he has consistently spoken about how the team’s mentality around away matches needs to change, and that he doesn’t believe the travel has as big of an impact as others believe.

The biggest difference, in his opinion, has been that there are not thousands of away fans traveling to support the team for momentum swings (due to the extensive travel and money it takes for away fans). Other than that, he doesn’t believe in the excuses.

Still, Charlotte FC had a rough start to the year on the road with zero wins, four losses, and one draw. The “difficult away games” narrative came up consistently in press conferences.

However, recently the team has turned around their away form. Three wins from their last four matches away from Bank of America Stadium have vaulted CLTFC up the standings to fourth place. It’s clear the team’s mentality on the road has shifted, and there is a belief in the squad that they can walk into hostile grounds and leave with all three points.

This weekend will be another test of that belief. Houston in the summer is one of the toughest places to play in the summer, as the heat and humidity creates a great home advantage for the Dynamo.

CLTFC will also have to do it without their captain, Ashley Westwood, who misses out on the match through a yellow card accumulation suspension. It will be interesting to see who Smith names as captain in his place, and the team will need to find the key leadership Westwood brings in pressure situations from elsewhere.

Ultimately, Charlotte will need to believe their recent excellent away form is for real if they want to stick around in the top four of the Eastern Conference through the dog days of summer.

The Opponent

Charlotte FC have played Houston Dynamo FC twice, once in each previous year and both times away. In the inaugural year of 2022, Houston was the site of CLTFC’s historic first-ever away win. Then, in 2023, the team went to Houston for the Leagues Cup Round of 16 and advanced to the quarterfinals with a gutsy win.

In 2024, Houston has been one of the better teams in the Western Conference. They’re locked in a tight battle for the final playoff spots, currently sitting in seventh place just clear of the Wild Card spots.

The team’s fortunes turned around last year behind Ben Olsen’s leadership. He was hired ahead of the 2023 season as the franchise’s sixth-ever head coach and immediately made a positive impact on the field. They finished fourth in the West last year, clinching some home field advantage and advancing all the way to the Western Conference final. However, they fell in that match 2-0 to LAFC.

This year, Houston has a similar identity to 2023. Their midfield is held down by famous Mexican national teamer Hector Herrera. Their goalscoring has been by committee so far, with Latif Blessing leading the way on five goals. DP striker Sebastian Ferreira hasn’t played much, but he had a breakout hat trick last time out and is a player to watch.

One absence that will hurt the Dynamo is attacking midfielder Coco Carrasquilla, who is a starter with the Panama national team at this summer’s Copa America.


The Season So Far

CLTFC started the season well with a gritty 1-0 home opener win over New York City FC. After a rocky three-game road trip that only resulted in one point, the team returned home to Bank of America Stadium to down defending MLS Cup Champions Columbus Crew (2-0) and draw defending Supporter’s Shield Champions FC Cincinnati (1-1).

Results continued to be up and down from there during a frustrating April. The team won a thrilling back-and-forth home match against Toronto courtesy of a late Patrick Agyemang match-winner, but they lost their other three matches in disappointing fashion.

However, a busy May reignited Charlotte’s form. The team notched three wins, two draws, and one loss over the course of the month.

Even an away loss to the Red Bulls at the end of the month didn’t dent the players’ confidence, and they followed it up with a big away win over rivals Atlanta United.

Then, CLTFC vaulted up the standings to fourth with a great three-match week: a gritty 1-0 home win over D.C. United, a valiant home draw against Orlando after playing down to ten men for 52 minutes, and a 2-0 win on the road at Philadelphia.

Now, the team will be looking to continue their good away form with a positive result at Houston.


Party of the Summer | CLT vs MIA |  Wed., July 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Party of the Summer | CLT vs MIA | Wed., July 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Start the 4th of July party early and celebrate at The Fortress as Charlotte FC hosts Inter Miami CF!

Party of the Summer Inclusions:
-Post-match fireworks
-Wine Wednesday (Select wine starting at $6.99)
-$10 concession credit with special ticket package
-Upper Bowl Open
-Light Up Rally Towel giveaway presented by Blue Cross NC (while supplies last)