Slow Charlotte FC start ends strong with a 3-0 win against the Charleston Battery


Charlotte FC had a sooner-than-expected match at Bank of America Stadium against the Charleston Battery when their preseason friendly was relocated to the Queen City. After a slow start, the Crown ended up giving the 2,500 fans in attendance plenty to cheer about with a 3-0 win against the Battery.

Despite a disjointed first half, Charlotte had several opportunities to be threatening and create higher quality opportunities but a lack of chemistry in the final third held them back. It's visible that designated players Enzo Copetti and Karol Swiderski are still working on their chemistry but they had plenty of reps to continue improving on their connection this match.

Things begin to click in the second half which led to CLTFC striker Enzo Copetti's first goal for the club. A strong performance from Charlotte's substitutes solidified their lead and demonstrated the depth the team is now boasting. An encouraging performance overall but questions will be asked of the center back position's depth as we approach the season opener.

First Half

Lineup: Sisniega, Byrne, Jones, Sobociński, Afful, Hegardt, Westwood, Świderski, Józwiak, Vargas, Copetti

Aside from a decent chance from Charleston that was blocked well by Jan Sobociński, the opening 15 minutes of the match didn't offer much action. However, in the 20th minute, Copetti had a glorious chance when he was played through on goal by Harrison Afful. Copetti went for the spectacular, tried to chip the goalkeeper, but he stood his ground ending up an easy save.

It was an overall disconnected half from Charlotte, especially in the attacking third, but Ashley Westwood's ability to threaten with his passing and set piece delivery was fully on display. The next high quality scoring opportunity came by way of Charleston in the 39th minute when they worked a 2v1 on the left side leading to a cross that drifted to the back post and a full volley is saved by Pablo Sisniega at upper 90 of the near post for a corner.

Right at the end of the half, excellent delivery on a corner from Westwood led to a scramble in the box that landed to Copetti who tried a volley as he fell that went above the crossbar. Copetti was once again involved when he won a free kick 10-15 yards outside the 18' that Karol Świderski stepped up to take and forced a good save out of the keeper.

Second Half

Lineup: Sisniega, Byrne, Jones, Sobociński, Afful, Hegardt, Westwood, Świderski, Józwiak, Vargas, Copetti

Substitutes: Lindsey, Neeley, Diop, Mora, Bronico, Bender, Gaines, Mello, Santos, Shinyashiki (65')

The second half started with a bit of a chaos in the 48th minute when Charleston player was able to slip in behind but his shot to the far post once parried low by Sisniega. Not too long afterwards in the 55th minute, Nathan Byrne floated a ball in behind to Kerwin Vargas who took one big touch and with his second squared it across to Copetti who was waiting for the tap in. His persistency throughout the match finally rewarded.

Charleston weren't going to just give up though. They managed to create some scoring opportunities from some shaky decision making by Charlotte but some key blocks helped maintain the Crown's lead. That lead was doubled in the 68th minute when some great 1v1 work from Bronico in the opponent's box led to a half yard of space allowing his low cross to flash past Vinicius Mello on front post but eventually reaching Ben Bender who controlled it with his body and smashed it home from inside the six.

Just 5 minutes later, CLTFC won the ball with their high press, then Mello laid it off to McKinze Gaines on the right side with Charleston's left back caught high. Instead of giving it back to Mello at the top of 18, Gaines took one touch to the byline and sent it across goal which met Nuno Santos who crashed the far post and finished with a cheeky backheel.

Charlotte weren't content with the three goals and continued to aggressively push for more until the very end of the match. There was no breakthrough for a fourth but the team created several promising scenarios that on another day could have extended the lead by even more.

Up Next

Charlotte FC will play the last of their preseason friendlies in a closed door affair against Birmingham Legion on February 18th.

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