CHARLOTTE – In the last match of their home game stretch, Charlotte FC took it to their opponents. They were aggressive on both sides of the ball as they had fought back from a disheartening early goal to win the game. And this was always the plan according to head coach Miguel Ramírez.
“Today, we wanted to have the initiative from the first moment until the end. Even winning 2 – 1 we trying to do the things properly. Building up with control, counter-attacking, and being aggressive when we have the chance to go. Jumping to force mistakes from the opponent and not dropping.”
It would be weird to call the 13th match of the MLS season a must win game but it sure felt that way. Ramírez and his players treated it as such with the impending two straight away matches.
“[The three points were] crucial, very important. We had the feeling that we had to win, yes or yes.”
The substitutes made all the difference on the day for Charlotte FC. He needed to call on them first when Christian Fuchs went down injured and was replaced by Christian Makoun. And as the match was beginning to get stagnant, Ramírez made three attacking substitutions that were all involved in the game winning goal.
“Depth is super important in a squad. For example, now Reyna was injured but we got Vargas to be able to replace him. This is a good situation to have players when there is an injury you have another one that can do the job. Also with Fuchs, Makoun is ready and Anton is back so we have more depth to be able to replace people when necessary.
One of those substitutes was the Club’s latest signing, forward Kerwin Vargas, who immediately made an impact in the match.
“Nobody expected him on the roster, not even himself. For me, there were two important points. First, we needed to speed up his adaptation as soon as possible... We had a safe scenario being at home.
“Second, we needed to break the game because we weren’t winning and we have these kinds of players who can change the game, as he showed. In the 1 v 1s, facing the opposition, this is what I always say to the forwards. Something has to happen. The impact he has in the final third is tremendous.”
The extra added depth will be vital as the team faces another packed week. They head to New Jersey to face the Red Bulls Wednesday night to continue their U.S. Open Cup and four days later have to travel across the country to face the Seattle Sounders.