Charlotte FC are back at home for their Eastern Conference match-up against the Columbus Crew. The 2022 series between these two sides ended in a two draws with neither side earning all three points. The Crew might be Charlotte's biggest test yet, but the Crown are motivated to earn their first win in front of the home crowd.
Here are the three ingredients of the match against the Crew:
In stark contrast to the Colorado Rapids, who rely on set pieces and direct play to generate scoring chances, the Crew are team that prefer to play intricately through you. Wanting to exploit any small gaps, slicing through your team. The usage of two number 10s is Columbus’s Head Coach Wilfried Nancy’s signature and is partially why his teams are so dangerous through the middle.
Getting stretched can be disastrous against a precise side that excels in playing through the lines. Staying compact won't allow the Crew to penetrate the defensive structure and therefore limit their high-power offense.
Punish Aggressive Positioning
It’s no secret that the Crew are hyper aggressive in the attack, pushing as many as six to eight players into the final third at a time. Nancy’s system is notorious for the aggressive positioning of not just attacking and midfield players but also defenders.
Just as the wingbacks push aggressively so do Columbus’s center backs. In possession, you will find Columbus's center backs pushing as far as past half-field leaving acres of space in behind them. When executed well, this style is rewarded with chance after chance created leaving opponents pinned in their own half but it can fall apart with just one pass.
A well-placed ball that bypasses Columbus’s high defensive lines could be paradise for the likes of Kerwin Vargas, Kamil Jóźwiak, and Enzo Copetti who can use their speed to cause real danger in transition.
“It’s Christmas everyday for us, unfortunately, for the opposition,” said CLTFC Head Coach Christian Lattanzio in regard to the amount of individual mistakes the team has made that cost them valuable points against the Rapids and other matches this year.
'Gifting' goals to the opposition has hurt the team’s ability to keep a clean sheet throughout the first part of the season. However, this doesn’t just apply to now. Mistakes haunted the Crown against the Crew in both their encounters in 2022. Matches that CLTFC could have won but ended up dropping points. The Crew have the attacking quality to punish mistakes, so staying ultra sharp throughout all 90 minutes is a must. No more Christmas in Charlotte, sorry Santa.
Hey Charlotte FC Fans,
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