Charlotte FC have found a good run of undefeated form upon their return to league play after reaching the Leagues Cup quarterfinals. A win over LAFC, coupled with 1-1 draws against Orlando and Nashville, have positioned the team in a great position to push into the playoff places. Here is everything you need to know ahead of the next match against D.C. United, who are just above CLTFC in the Eastern Conference standings.
Match: Charlotte FC vs D.C. United
When: Saturday, September 16
Where: Bank of America 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.
Know Before You Go: For details on match day at Bank of America Stadium, click here.
Charlotte FC 1 – 1 Nashville SC (Major League Soccer | September 2)
D.C. United 0 – 0 San Jose Earthquakes (Major League Soccer | September 9)
Eastern Conference Table: For the full live table, click here.
8. CF Montreal – 35 points, 27 GP
9. D.C. United – 34 points, 28 GP
---------- Playoff Line ----------
10. Chicago Fire – 32 points, 27 GP
11. Charlotte FC – 31 points, 26 GP
Charlotte FC have positioned themselves well in the race for the last few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference with an undefeated run since returning from the Leagues Cup break. The team is just three points down from ninth place (the final playoff spot) with 1-2 games on hand on all of the teams above them.
This weekend, The Crown will have their sights set on D.C. United right above them in the table. While the team from the nation’s capital currently has three more points, Charlotte FC could execute a massive swing on Saturday. A win would guarantee that CLTFC would pull even with D.C., since they would take three points while simultaneously keeping D.C. from earning three points – the proverbial “six-pointer”.
Not only would the clubs then be even on points, but CLTFC would still have a full two games in hand and thus six more points potentially available to them.
As such, Saturday’s match takes on a greater level of significance. While all the matches at this point in the season could make or break the playoff push, games against direct rivals for one of those final spots have higher stakes and bigger rewards on the table.
D.C. United have experienced a rollercoaster of a season under Head Coach Wayne Rooney. While their last result was a 0-0 draw, it wasn’t for lack of chances generated by an attack led by Christian Benteke up top and orchestrated by Mateusz Klich in midfield.
Benteke’s 6’3” frame provides a great focal point for the attack, and he is often too much to handle physically for opposing defenders. However, what made him a mainstay in the Premier League and with the Belgian national team is his elite vision and ability to combine with his teammates. CLTFC writer Caleb Adams broke down the striker’s playing style in this week’s Ingredients of the Match.
Home Field Advantage
Winning on the road in Major League Soccer is notoriously difficult. This is especially true when teams visit Bank of America Stadium, where on a normal day there are 30,000 passionate fans filling the lower bowl.
D.C. United will experience an extra challenge on top of that, as CLTFC will have the upper bowl open for Saturday’s pivotal match. For Charlotte FC, taking advantage of that extra momentum provided by the supporters will be essential to a big result in the playoff race on Saturday.
Club Captain Ashley Westwood spoke to media earlier this week about how much the attendance and passion at CLTFC home games lifts the team.
“It's a huge match and I know we've opened up the top bowl. So, hopefully they come out in their numbers. Even the Wednesday [Orlando City] night game was incredible. We had the storm rolling in and it was raining but we still managed to get nearly 30,000. So, it was unbelievable support. You don't get that in England. To get that shows what a fan base we've got.”
“...it's going to give us a great chance if we win on Saturday to really push for playoffs. The way they’ve come out and supported us, they've done it even at the start of the year when things weren't going our way. They've stuck with us and hopefully we can pay them back now.”
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 draws against Orlando and Nashville, the team has climbed one spot to 11th and is just three points out from the final playoff place.
UPPER BOWL OPEN | CLT v D.C.
The upper bowl will be OPEN for the CLT vs D.C. matchup on September 16. Tickets start at $15.
Gate Giveaway: First fans in attendance will receive a limited-edition Rally Towel, presented by Ally.