GREENVILLE – Charlotte FC were resilient in their extra time win against the Greenville Triumph in the U.S. Open Cup. The Triumph were a team that CLTFC head coach, Miguel Ramírez didn’t have much to go off of but knew was going to be a tough opponent.
“They have a fantastic coach, I met him today before the game... I expected these difficulties because they have athletic players able to run to the space. When they recover, they push you to defend. Putting more bodies in the final third.”
“We had very little references for Triumph since they’ve played very little this season. But in the end, it’s what is beautiful about the Cup. It’s a chance for lower league teams to show what they got and be motivated.”
Ramírez used an entire rotated lineup to begin the match. Many players who don’t normally get minutes were thrown into what ended up being a grueling affair that required mental and physical fortitude to get earn the result.
“I think what has allowed us to compete in MLS is that competitive spirit they [the players] have every day. They train really well. They always go hard. I think it’s the best thing this group has.
It’s a really sound group, very healthy, they are professional, and I also think that I am very respectful towards them and give them their space. I think we have a very positive relationship between the coaching staff and the players.
“In the end, many of the players in this match showed that they are able to compete whenever the team needs them.”
One of those players was winger Kamil Jóźwiak, who assisted the game winning goal for CLTFC in his debut after being signed a little over a month ago. From the moment he stepped onto the pitch, he looked like the Crown’s best chance at scoring.
“Kamil... you saw already what he has. He’s able to unbalance, create something, to put the game in the last third. This is the most important.”
Jóźwiak was subbed in with some of CLTFC’s regular starters after Triumph scored their equalizer in the earlier stages of the second half. Something Ramírez begrudgingly had to do as he wanted to rest his starters for the upcoming match against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
“[It was] very tiring. We’ll have to see how these guys come in tomorrow to training. And we need to travel tomorrow afternoon after the training. We only have Friday. It will be very tight to prepare, we didn’t even want to give minutes to Brandt, Ben, Fuchs, but finally, I had to.”
“I needed to change because we were suffering. We were not able to control the game as we did in the first half. And then after the change, that’s it. We were the team that we wanted to be.”
Charlotte FC had a large contingent of fans who traveled down to Greenville to support the team. Ramírez continues to be mesmerized and grateful for just how supportive the fans have been despite the Club still being in its infancy.
“I always like to go talk, take photos, and spend time with fans. And whenever I am with them, I always like to thank each of them, I really want the fans to know the gratitude I feel for them.”
“I told the coach [Greenville’s coach John Harkes] before the match, that I think the best thing about our experiences is the people that are with us. I think it’s the most positive point of all. That fact we are so new and yet the people have fallen in love so quick, given us so much endearment, and said they are here no matter what happens... that’s priceless.