Charlotte FC are locked in a tight battle for the final two playoff positions as the regular season winds down. The team has been undefeated since returning from the Leagues Cup break, but three of those four matches have ended in a draw, meaning CLTFC has kept pace with the race rather than taken control of it. Now, there is a quick turnaround to a midweek match against the Philadelphia Union. Here is everything you need to know ahead of Wednesday’s match at Bank of America Stadium.
Match: Charlotte FC vs Philadelphia Union
When: Wednesday, September 20
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 0 – 0 D.C. United (Major League Soccer | September 16)
Philadelphia Union 2 – 2 FC Cincinnati (Major League Soccer | September 16)
Eastern Conference Table: For the full live table, click here.
8. CF Montreal – 36 points, 28 GP
9. D.C. United – 35 points, 29 GP
---------- Playoff Line ----------
10. Chicago Fire – 33 points, 28 GP
11. Charlotte FC – 32 points, 27 GP
Still in Control of Playoff Destiny
In Charlotte FC’s inaugural season, the team was boom or bust, securing only three draws over the course of the entire season. As that season came to a close, fans and players alike lamented their inability to eke out a few more draws to clinch a playoff spot.
In 2023, however, draws have become the bane of CLTFC’s existence. The team has played extremely well over the summer, especially after Leagues Cup, but have been unable to convert their good performances into three points. At home, the Club has lost only once in its last 12 regular season matches, but it has also only won four times, drawing the other seven. They are also undefeated in the last five league matches home and away, but have drawn four of those.
Despite this, draws rather than losses are the reason Charlotte FC are still in the playoff race. They still control their own destiny with seven matches still to play, an advantage that Head Coach Christian Lattanzio is keen to retain.
"We need to win games,” he said after the D.C. United match. “I think in the last four games we should have 12 points. We deserve 12 points. If we had those 12 points it doesn't matter what Chicago does, it doesn't matter what Montreal does. I like to think that we want to be the master of our destiny not to look at too many calculations."
Luckily for Lattanzio and his players, what Chicago and Montreal did last weekend was a help to the CLTFC cause. Those two competitors also playing a 0-0 draw against each other means that none of the teams in the immediate vicinity – Montreal, D.C., Chicago, and Charlotte – have taken firm control.
It’s still anyone’s playoff spot to claim.... and Charlotte FC still have one to two games in hand on all their opponents.
The Opponent & History
The Philadelphia Union have been one of the team’s premier teams over the past few seasons. Behind Head Coach Jim Curtin, the Union has built a perennially competitive team around smart overseas investment and excellent Homegrown player contributions. The ethos continues to be centered on a direct, physical, and highly effective playing style, typically featuring a diamond midfield and two strikers.
This year, the Union sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, just two points clear of Columbus Crew as they hold on to the final playoff spot with home field advantage. They beat CLTFC 1-0 at Subaru Park earlier in the season.
Last year when Philadelphia visited Charlotte late on, they were locked in a tight Supporter’s Shield battle with LAFC. CLTFC handed them a 4-0 loss at Bank of America Stadium, severely denting the eventual MLS Cup Finalists trophy aspirations.
Writer Caleb Adams broke down the Ingredients of the Match for CLTFC to repeat their dominant result from 2022.
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 one win and three draws since then behind some of the best performances of the season, CLTFC remain just three points back from the final playoff spot with games in hand on their rivals.
KICK CHILDHOOD CANCER | CLT v PHI
Theme Night: Kick Childhood Cancer. Gate Giveaway: First fans in attendance will receive a special edition CLTFC Scarf, presented by Atrium Health.