Full Time

The Full Time Clip: Charlotte FC Triumph in Tight Match over Nashville SC Behind Agyemang Strike

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Patrick Agyemang netted another match-winner in the second half with a powerful left-footed strike.

First Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Byrne, Malanda, Privett, Uronen, Westwood, Diani, Bronico, Vargas, Dejaegere, Agyemang

Saturday’s match got off to a plodding start, despite the energy in Bank of America Stadium from 36,319 fans and an open upper deck. The first 25 minutes went by with some half-decent chances and possession from both teams. The most action was Adilson Malanda changing his shirt after getting it bloody in a collision and a yellow card to Tyler Boyd for a foul on Nathan Byrne, but not much else.

Tactically, it was an interesting battle between Charlotte FC Head Coach Dean Smith and Nashville SC Head Coach Gary Smith. The two Englishmen set their teams up in very different ways, with Nashville in a 3-5-2 and Charlotte FC in a more traditional 4-3-3.

Dean Smith’s major adjustment was changing his defensive approach with the selection of Brandt Bronico in midfield rather than a more usual number 10. Instead of defending in a flat 4-4-2, CLTFC’s three forwards matched up directly with Nashville’s three center backs to engage the high press while Bronico and Djibril sat deeper next to Ashley Westwood.

Patrick Agyemang had a big chance around a half hour into the game. After an incisive build led by Brecht Dejaegere, Kerwin Vargas poked a side-footed shot at the net that Agyemang redirected. Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis made a good point-blank save, but the young striker was offside in the first place, anyway.

In the 39th minute, Dru Yearwood put a good shot on goal from the top of the box that Kristijan Kahlina did very well to hold on to the save and not spill it. Sam Surridge was lurking right in front of him, waiting for an easy tap-in on any rebound.

After five minutes of stoppage time, the half wound down with little fanfare and match hit halfway at a scoreless draw.

Second Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Byrne, Malanda, Privett, Uronen, Westwood, Diani (74’), Bronico (90’), Vargas (90’), Dejaegere (67’), Agyemang (90’)

Substitutions: Tavares (67’), Urso (74’), Arfield (90’), Smalls (90’), Petkovic (90’)

Gary Smith made a halftime change for Nashville, bringing on team captain Walker Zimmerman to replace Brent Kallman at center back. Zimmerman, a U.S. National Team regular, had been nursing an injury back to health with this match just his second back on the field.

CLTFC got the first major opportunity in the 51st minute. Unsurprisingly, it was Agyemang causing problems for opposing defenders in typical fashion, shrugging off Zimmerman and skipping past Jack Maher. He laid it off to Vargas who snapped a left-footed shot wide of the near post, but perhaps he had a better opportunity to cut it back for a better shot for Agyemang.

However, Agyemang and Vargas quickly corrected their miscommunication just two minutes later, combining for the match’s opening goal. Vargas passed the ball in to Agyemang, who settled with his thigh and put on a quick burst to surge past Jack Maher and rifle a left-footed strike perfectly into the far corner.

In the 58th minute, the young American striker continued wreaking havoc on the Nashville back line. Once again, he dummied the ball and spun Zimmerman before beating Maher in a foot race to the ball. While stretching to be first to it, though, his touch was too far, and Daniel Lovitz got a last-ditch block in on his shot inside the box.

CLTFC kept pouring on the pressure. Dejaegere carved out a good chance in the 61st minute, stinging Willis’ palms with a shot from just outside the box. The Belgian nearly found Agyemang on the front post a minute later with a low cross, but Zimmerman cut it out with good positioning.

Both teams made changes with roughly 25 minutes left to play, which killed off a bit of the Charlotte momentum. Nashville changed the look of their midfield with Sean Davis and Amar Sejdic introduced, and Charlotte replaced Dejaegere on the wing with Iuri Tavares. The Portuguese forward stationed himself on the left side, swapping Vargas over to the right.

Junior Urso entered a bit later in the 74th minute for Djibril Diani. Shaq Moore and Jacob Shaffelburg entered for Nashville at the same time.

Andrew Privett was putting on a masterclass in the defensive third for Charlotte FC, consistently putting out fires and making well-timed tackles inside his own box. In the 77th minute, he was isolated by Sam Surridge and calmly tackled the ball away to maintain the one-goal lead.

Nashville crafted their best chance of the second half in the 80th minute, with Hany Mukhtar slotting it for a Shaq Moore overlap. However, Moore’s shot from a tight angle was right at Kahlina.

As the match approached its end, Scott Arfield, Nikol Petkovic, and Tyger Smalls were summoned in the 90th minute to help secure the victory during an additional six minutes of extra time. Charlotte avenged their prior defeat to Nashville earlier in the season with a consecutive clean sheet and a home win.

Next up, Charlotte's series of home matches pauses as they travel to Chicago for a midweek showdown against the Fire.

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.