After a quarterfinal defeat to Inter Miami CF in Leagues Cup, Charlotte FC returned to league play and continued their good form from the tournament with two home matches – a 2-1 win over LAFC and a 1-1 draw with Orlando City. Up next: Nashville SC away, the third game in eight days. Here is everything you need to know ahead of CLTFC’s first-ever trip to the Music City.
Match: Charlotte FC at Nashville SC
When: Saturday, September 2
Where: GEODIS Park
Kickoff: 8:30pm ET
Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (FREE) - 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.
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Charlotte FC 1 – 1 Orlando City SC (Major League Soccer | August 30)
Nashville SC 0 – 0 Inter Miami CF (Major League Soccer | August 30)
Eastern Conference Table: For the full live table, click here.
7. Nashville – 39 points, 26 GP
8. CF Montreal – 35 points, 26 GP
9. Chicago Fire – 32 points, 26 GP
---------- Playoff Line ----------
10. D.C. United – 30 points, 26 GP
11. Charlotte FC – 30 points, 25 GP
12. New York Red Bulls – 29 points, 26 GP
Climbing the Table
Charlotte FC kept pace in the playoff race in the midweek. Despite a draw at home – an ultimately disappointing result for the coaching staff and players considering the late lead they held – other Eastern Conference results broke The Crown’s way, meaning they still made up a valuable point on their competitors.
CF Montreal (8th), Chicago Fire (9th), and the New York Red Bulls (12th) all lost, enabling CLTFC to pass the Red Bulls in the standings and make up ground on everyone else. D.C. United did not play midweek and so stood pat in 10th.
Additionally, Charlotte FC has a game in hand on all the teams around them in the standings, which will come into play when the Club matches up with the rescheduled Inter Miami away match on October 18th.
Road results are notoriously hard to close out in Major League Soccer. Extended travel compared to other leagues, wildly different weather conditions, and certain raucous home environments all contribute to this difficulty.
Nashville SC, in particular, are a tough nut to crack at GEODIS Park, their 30,000-seat soccer-specific stadium. They have an impressive eight wins at home in the league this year, with only two draws and two losses, and have just finished going toe-to-toe with Lionel Messi and Inter Miami at home in the Leagues Cup final and MLS play - both draws in regulation.
However, not all is perfectly rosy in the Music City. Despite their Leagues Cup success, they’ve endured a five-match winless streak in league play and will potentially be without two-time Defensive Player of the Year Walker Zimmerman, as well as new DP striker Sam Surridge. On the flipside, CLTFC will likely be without new number 10 Brecht Dejaegere, who picked up a slight injury in Wednesday's match.
For Charlotte FC to take advantage and get important points in the playoff race, they will need to keep up their confident possession-based playing style seen in the last two matches. Defensively, the team will need to be constantly aware of Hany Mukhtar, the reigning MLS MVP, who has scored in both all-time matches against CLTFC. Writer Caleb Adams dove into these topics and more in his latest Ingredients of the Match.
The Season So Far
Charlotte FC’s second season got off to a tough start, with one win, three draws, and five losses in the opening eight matches. However, the Crown were able to stabilize in an extremely congested April and May, rattling off five straight wins at home in the league and the U.S. Open Cup. Over the course of the summer, wins were hard to come by, but the team kept themselves in touching distance of the playoffs with five draws in their last six games before the Leagues Cup break.
Leagues Cup served as a great reset for Charlotte FC. One penalty shootout win and one outright win put them through to the knockout stage as group winners, where CLTFC won two straight road games before falling to eventual champions Inter Miami in the quarterfinals.
Head Coach Christian Lattanzio’s side have been carrying that tournament momentum over to the last third of the MLS regular season. With a win over LAFC and a draw against Orlando, the team has climbed one spot to 11th and is now just two points out from the final playoff place.