Match Preview

Match Preview: Charlotte FC vs. Toronto FC

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Charlotte FC is riding a 12-match MLS unbeaten streak at Bank of America Stadium. In 2024, the team has taken down both New York City FC and Columbus Crew, the defending MLS Cup Champions, while drawing FC Cincinnati.

Now, CLTFC gets a rematch with Toronto FC after losing a tight match away at the Canadian side earlier in the season.

Match: Charlotte FC vs Toronto FC

When: Saturday, April 13

Where: Bank of America Stadium

Kickoff: 7:30 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.

Know Before You Go: For information on tickets, stadium entry, and more, click here.

Defensive Changes

After Head Coach Dean Smith’s pre-match press conference on Friday, the primary news was the availability status of some ever-present defenders in his lineup.

Adilson Malanda, who has started and played all 90 minutes of all seven matches so far, is “doubtful” for Saturday with a slight hamstring strain. Nathan Byrne, who had started every game over the start of the season before missing last weekend with an injury, will also miss out again due to travel for his green card process.

That’s two of the four starters on the back line for one of the league’s best defenses. How Dean Smith replaces those players will give some interesting insights into where the depth chart stands.

Jaylin Lindsey, who finally got his first opportunity of the year against New England, will more than likely keep his place as Byrne’s replacement. However, the spot behind Malanda has more options and so is a bit more unclear.

Smith name dropped Bill Tuiloma, Hamady Diop, and Joao Pedro as players who could be in line to replace Malanda in the lineup. Which of the three is chosen will be very revealing as to which of them is pushing Malanda and Andrew Privett in training for those starting center back positions.

Additionally, the MLS season is quite long. Saturday will be just the eighth match of 34 in the league, and that doesn’t include Leagues Cup and a potential playoff run. The depth of the squad will be needed throughout the season; it simply isn’t realistic for the same eleven players to play all 34-plus matches.

So, Saturday will be a good test for Dean Smith’s defensive depth, giving him insight into how much he can rely on those players as the season progresses.

It will also be an opportunity for those same players to prove to the coaching staff that they deserve to be first choice. Sometimes, it only takes one opportunity for a player to take and keep a starting spot.

The Opponent

Charlotte FC is knocking out both of their league matches against Toronto FC early in the season. The two teams already matched up in Canada in the third week of the season, in which CLTFC fell to a tight 1-0 loss after a late Lorenzo Insigne wonder-goal.

However, Toronto’s Italian superstar will miss Saturday’s match through injury. Insigne had single-handedly won Toronto at least two games already this season with superb goals in one-goal victories, so his loss will be keenly felt.

In his absence, Federico Bernardeschi – the team’s “other” Italian superstar – will look to shoulder even more of the attacking burden.

Beyond the players, Toronto’s Head Coach John Herdman has executed a similar first-year turnaround to what Dean Smith has done in Charlotte by generating much greater buy-in and a healthy team culture. Saturday’s match will be another interesting tactical battle between the two coaches.


The Season So Far

Charlotte FC won their first match of the season over NYCFC with a gritty 1-0 win at home. They then faced three consecutive games on the road, securing a 1-1 draw in Vancouver before tight losses to Toronto (1-0) and Nashville (2-1).

Upon finally returning to Bank of America Stadium, the team impressively downed the defending MLS Cup Champions, the Columbus Crew, by a 2-0 score. Then, they secured another impressive result, drawing the defending Supporter’s Shield Champions, FC Cincinnati, in a 1-1 match.

Now, after a disappointing road loss in New England, CLTFC is back at home looking for a bounce-back result in a rematch against Toronto FC.



First fans in attendance will receive a limited-edition CLTFC minty cape, courtesy of Ticketmaster. Come out and show your support as the boys defend The Fortress.