Ingredients of the Match

Test of Character | Ingredients of the Match


Charlotte FC wraps up their 2024 regular season series against New York City FC on the road, with their first encounter resulting in a 1-0 win for The Crown in their season opener.

Here are three ingredients of the match:

Protect the Ball

NYCFC Head Coach Nick Cushing’s persistence on a high pressing strategy is beginning to yield dividends. While it hasn't directly resulted in numerous scoring opportunities, they have consistently won possession in the opponent's half to set the stage for constructing attacks from the final third.

This approach amplifies the danger posed by players like the gifted playmaker Santi Rodriguez, who has increasingly showcased his ability this season, asserting himself as one of the premier talents in his position across the league.

Understanding when to play through the press (or over it) will be crucial for Charlotte to evade precarious situations within their own half. Instead, they can capitalize on such moments to carve out openings in the attack to exploit.

Creativity Through the Middle

Charlotte’s offensive threat this season has predominantly stemmed from its wing play, a tactic not lost on Minnesota United. Anticipating this, Minnesota structured their defense with three center backs in order to double team Charlotte’s wingers with their wingbacks and nearest midfielder. Their strategy paid off as Charlotte never really threatened after the 20 minute mark.

However, with this tactic, Minnesota’s vulnerability was elsewhere — in the gap between the center backs and the midfield pivot. Throughout the season, The Crown had seldom orchestrated attacks through the middle, a trend now becoming evident to opposing teams.

It’s likely that New York City FC has dissected Charlotte’s gameplay against Minnesota and will aim to exploit this weakness by redirecting play through the central channel. Charlotte’s midfielders will have to step up to provide an extra creative spark in the center of the field.

We’ve seen this previously, with a notable example from Djibril Diani’s threaded pass to Patrick Agyemang for the match winner against the Columbus Crew. Charlotte’s midfielders have shown themselves to be more than capable in this area, collectively grabbing three goals and three assists. They could prove to be the difference against The Pigeons this weekend.

Test of Character

Charlotte faced their toughest challenge of the season in a humbling 3-0 defeat to Minnesota United, marking the end of their 14-game unbeaten streak at Bank of America Stadium.

Undoubtedly, it was a grueling setback for The Crown, but it should not overshadow their entire season.

The true measure of a team lies in how it rebounds from adversity, striving to scale greater heights. Charlotte now stands at a crossroads, poised to turn a setback into a springboard for success against New York City FC.

“After the tough loss now, we need to bounce back,” said defender Bill Tuiloma building up to the match. “It shows who we are if we come back strong. To get the win on the weekend will be really good for us and just shows that the character is in the team.”

Moreover, Charlotte holds another streak within reach this weekend — their unbeaten record against NYCFC. In five encounters, The Crown has triumphed over the Pigeons three times and drawn twice. Extending this streak to six would not only solidify their dominance over their Eastern Conference rivals but also mark their first away victory of the season.

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Four Saturdays. Four Matches. For The Crown.

Four Saturdays. Four Matches. For The Crown.

Party with Charlotte FC all month long! It’s match MAYhem as The Crown hosts a home match every Saturday in May.