Charlotte FC is locked in a tight battle for the final two playoff positions as the regular season winds down. The team sits in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, four points adrift of the final playoff spot. However, CLTFC has played only 29 matches, while all the teams above them have played either 30 or 31, meaning they have the points available to them to make up the gap.
Their first opportunity to close that gap is an away trip to the New England Revolution this Saturday, September 30th. Here is everything you need to know ahead of the match.
Match: Charlotte FC vs New England Revolution
When: Saturday, September 30
Where: Gillette Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30pm 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.
Charlotte FC 0 – 3 FC Cincinnati (Major League Soccer | September 23)
New England Revolution 2 – 2 Chicago Fire (Major League Soccer | September 23)
Eastern Conference Table: For the full live table, click here.
6. New England Revolution – 49 points, 29 GP (playoffs clinched)
7. Nashville SC – 44 points, 29 GP
8. CF Montreal – 37 points, 30 GP
9. NYCFC – 37 points, 31 GP
---------- Playoff Line ----------
10. D.C. United – 36 points, 31 GP
11. New York Red Bulls – 34 points, 30 GP
12. Chicago Fire – 34 points, 30 GP
13. Charlotte FC – 33 points, 29 GP
Final Third Finishing
Against FC Cincinnati last weekend, Charlotte FC generated nine shots. However, zero of those shots were on target and Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano was never tested over the 90 minutes.
While shots and shots on target are certainly an imperfect and incomplete look at the balance of a match, it’s still illustrative of CLTFC’s issues in the match – and in the last stretch of matches, for that matter.
Club captain Ashley Westwood, speaking to media after the loss, talked about how they “need to work on that final bit of quality.” Finding that final quality finish, incisive pass, or game-breaking 1v1 dribbling will be critical to Charlotte FC getting over the hump against New England.
Writer Caleb Adams broke down this trend, alongside other keys to victory, in his weekly Ingredients of the Match.
The New England Revolution spent much of the year at the top of the Eastern Conference, riding a hot start in which they won six of their first nine matches. That includes the last time these two teams saw each other, a late 1-0 victory over Charlotte FC in front of a packed Bank of America Stadium on the season’s opening day.
They have cooled off as of late, though, winning only once in six matches since the Leagues Cup break (where they lost in the knockout rounds to Queretaro in a penalty shootout). In that time, the players have weathered multiple changes in the coaching staff since Bruce Arena was placed on leave on August 1st and ultimately resigned on September 9th. Clint Peay now serves as interim head coach after previously leading the club’s MLS NEXT Pro side.
On the pitch, the Revolution are led by 2021 MLS MVP Carles Gil in midfield. He paces the team in two categories with nine goals, including one in their last match, and 13 assists. The extremely talented number 10 will be the player to watch for Charlotte FC; shutting him down will be a major key to success for Head Coach Christian Lattanzio’s men.
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 but have generally been unable to turn draws into key victories. Following a loss to Eastern Conference-leading FC Cincinnati, the team are in need of a bounce back performance away at New England this Saturday to keep pace in the playoff race.