Ingredients of the Match

Reacting to Adversity | Ingredients of the Match


After two trips to Canada, Charlotte FC wrap up their three match away series this weekend with a match against Nashville SC.

Here are the ingredients of the match:

Reacting to Adversity

Charlotte had an impressive streak to start the season, going eight straight games without conceding a goal, including preseason matches, until their encounter with Toronto FC. The loss in Canada marked the first time the team faced such adversity under Dean Smith. Despite this setback, Club Captain Ashley Westwood emphasized the importance of the team's response.

“It's our first loss of the season, and even in preseason as well, so we've been on a good run,” said Westwood. “It’s how we react now. We need to come back in on Monday and get back to work next week because we're in the middle of a tough run.

“We know the work that is needed.”

Charlotte now has an opportunity to rebound against their neighboring rivals, who have struggled early in the season and may still be fatigued from a midweek Champions Cup match. While GEODIS Park presents challenges, there are valuable points to be earned.

Breaking Down a Low Block

In the first three matches of the season, Charlotte averaged less possession than their opponents. However, against Nashville, this trend may change. Nashville tends to cede possession, preferring to defend deep and capitalize on counterattacks.

Facing Nashville means breaking down a low defensive block, which is notoriously difficult to do against the well-drilled side of Head Coach Gary Smith. Charlotte must keep a fast tempo and rely on technical players like Iuri Tavares, Kerwin Vargas, and Brecht Dejaegere to create opportunities in tight spaces.

Resorting to crossing and transitions would play into Nashville's hands, making it imperative for Charlotte to play through the defense.

A Complete 90

In the early stages of Dean Smith's tenure, Charlotte has experienced an even mix of results: winning, drawing, and losing matches. While it was a respectable start, Smith identified inconsistent halves as an area the team needs to improve on.

“There's been a theme...,” said Smith following the team’s loss to Toronto FC. “Over the first three games of the season, it’s probably been too big a drop off in the second half that we haven't managed to change from the bench so far.”

Charlotte has displayed impressive stretches of play, especially in the first halves of matches. During these sequences, Charlotte has exhibited purposeful play, opting for quick, precise passes and being aggressive in seizing opportunities to attack directly. When they’ve strayed away from this approach is when the quality of play takes a toll.

If the team can maintain the level of performance seen in those initial periods for the entire 90 minutes, victories will undoubtedly follow suit.


Girls and Women in Sports Night | Mar. 23 | 7:30 PM

Girls and Women in Sports Night | Mar. 23 | 7:30 PM

Celebrating Girls and Women in Sports Night! Including a clear fanny pack giveaway, presented by Atrium Health.

CLTFC x Canes Night | Mar. 30 | 7:30 PM

CLTFC x Canes Night | Mar. 30 | 7:30 PM

The Crown and the Canes are joining forces on March 30th! Snag a limited-edition co-branded scarf buy purchasing our special ticket package or at the Team Store on matchday!