CHARLOTTE – With Charlotte FC one-third of the way into their inaugural season, Charlotte FC sporting director, Zoran Krneta, analyzes the first twelve games and what’s to come for the Club.
“I think our season has gone well. I’m proud of the players. At the beginning, we said our aim for year one is to be competitive, and I think we have proved that. I think we are competitive in every single game. I don’t think anybody has beaten us soundly.
“I think our team has shown spirit, and has fought to the very last minutes. I think there are a lot of positives to take for the first 12 games. There is obviously a lot of room for improvement.
“We are addressing that, the coaching staff and myself. The front office is also now looking where else and what else we need to improve for the season with the summer window coming up and for next year.”
Krneta has said from the very beginning that they didn’t want to rush the roster building to remain flexible to add players where needed. With twelve games under their belt, Krneta and his staff have recognized the attacking midfield as an area of need. They kept one remaining designated player slot open just for this reason – to keep a slot open to bolster the squad with a high-caliber player.
“I don’t want to commit whether it will happen in the summer transfer window which is our aim, or whether it will happen in January simply because of the business of transfers and deals is unpredictable but we are looking to add an attacking midfielder as our third DP, that is our primary aim.
“You don’t know who you really have until they start playing. You don't really know individual players what they give you or not until you see them playing week after week. So now we are getting a little bit better picture of who is who on the team, who can give us what, and how we can move forward and improve.
The MLS Player’s Association has recently updated its Salary Guide, a full list of all players' salaries in MLS. Charlotte ranked on the low end of total spent on salaries but according to Krneta it doesn’t tell the whole story.
“I think this whole salary list is a little bit misleading, in my opinion. If you take into consideration the total spending, acquisition cost and salaries we are 7th on the list of the top of spending in the league. I think this is more accurate if you really want to compare.
“Second, we have done a lot of data analytics and we never found a correlation between paying salaries and success in MLS. And I still don’t see it. In that respect, we have done the best we can to form the best squad without overpaying for players. We are also still missing a DP player which would of course change the salary level we are at.”
Krneta has stressed that the club hasn’t only focused on building a roster to compete in year one but for year two year, year three, and years to come. But right now, the Crown still have much to play for in the remainder of this season as they are still in playoff contention and have reached the Round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup.