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Charlotte Faces St. Louis Tonight
It's been 10 years since teams from Charlotte and St. Louis have met in the major leagues. We're in St. Louis for all the action; the match starts at at 8:30 ET/7:30 CT.
Last Saturday, Charlotte FC suffered an underwhelming 0:1 loss against the New England Revolution, while St. Louis CITY SC exceeded expectations in a 2:3 win against Austin FC.
Along with our sister publications Y’all Weekly and STL 630, we’re in the Lou for Charlotte FC’s first away match of the year - and the first-ever MLS league match at the CITYPARK in downtown St. Louis.
Charlotte FC 0, New England Revolution 1
Charlotte was playing their first league match since the tragic accident that took the life of Anton Walkes earlier this year. The pregame and the pitch had many memorials to the late defender, including an AW5 logo on both the field and the kits of the Charlotte team. Every MLS match had a moment of silence for Walkes last week, and there will be one prior to tonight’s match in St. Louis).
Despite the absence of Walkes, injured goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina, and recovering Guzmán Corujo, Charlotte’s defense held strong for 88 minutes. Another brilliant performance by French defender Adilson Malanda along with significant plays by goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega kept Charlotte in the game. A recent addition to the club, veteran MLS defender Bill Tuiloma, joined Nathan Byrne and Joseph Mora to form a strong defensive line.
For his performance, Malanda was named a Young Player of the Matchday for the league:
Charlotte’s weak spot continued to be finishing. New Argentinian signing Enzo Copetti couldn’t get anything to work, and said he’d need time to get used to Charlotte’s pitch - not a good sign. Kamil Jóźwiak won a significant number of challenges, but had trouble getting the ball to Copetti or Karol Świderski, who was playing an attacking midfielder.
When Charlotte’s starters got the ball in scoring position, little mistakes cost them. Despite possessing the ball for 55% of the match the team only made four shots on target. New England had 5, and in the 89th Minute that final shot by Henry Kessler went in.
Charlotte’s offense improved significantly when Andre Shinyashiki and Kerwin Vargas gave them fresh legs on the wings in the second half. Vargas had a heartbreaking header in the 92nd minute that hit the right post; six inches to the left and it would have equalized the match. After the match, Charlotte FC Coach Christian Lattanzio said Shinyashiki and Vargas “brought something to the party.”
After the match, New England Revolution coach Bruce Arena praised Charlotte’s play, especially that of Malanda.
Charlotte had one silver lining on the business side: with 69,345 in attendance, Charlotte had the largest attendance for an MLS home opener for the second year running despite complaints about higher ticket prices this year.
As for the rest of the season, Lattanzio was optimistic:
Austin FC 2, St. Louis CITY SC 3
Charlotte was starting its sophomore year as an MLS club; for St. Louis, it was their first-ever league match. Unlike Charlotte, St. Louis didn’t need 3 matches to score their first goal, and another week to win their first match. St. Louis CITY SC’s game plan of high presses created opportunities and exploited Austin’s mistakes.
Tim Parker had the honor of scoring the first-ever MLS goal for St. Louis. After Austin went up 2:1 in the second half, Jared Stroud scored an equalizer in the 78th minute, and St. Louis striker João Klauss de Mello had the winning goal in the 86th minute.
Week 2 Match Preview: STL v CLT
It’s been 10 years since a pro teams from the two cities have met: in that game, the Carolina Panthers bested the then-St. Louis Rams at home. You have to go back to 2010 to find the last game a major league Charlotte team played in St. Louis; in that game, the Rams beat the Panthers.
This football, however, is a different game, and if the anticipated sell-out crowd is any indication, St. Louis CITY SC won’t be one of the pro teams that moves away.
The matchups between the offenses and the defenses will be interesting to watch tonight. Can Malanda, Sisniega, and Charlotte’s defense hold up to Klauss and St. Louis’ press? Will Charlotte put the pieces together to score against a St. Louis defense that gave up 2 goals last week? While Lattanzio can’t make many changes on the back line, have players like Vargas and Shinyashiki earned more minutes this week?
For those in St. Louis
Chico “La Muerte” Sanchez, the Mint City Collective and other Charlotte FC supporters are here in St. Louis this weekend. If you’re one of them, check out our Charlotte FC supporter’s guide to St. Louis and our live social media coverage of the Queen City’s visit to the Gateway to the West.
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