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Charlotte FC Still in the Playoff Chase as Inter Miami and Messi are Eliminated
Charlotte FC controls its destiny with two matches left in the season.
The Messi miracle is over. Much to the chagrin of Apple TV and MLS executives, Inter Miami CF was eliminated from the playoffs in a 0-1 loss to FC Cincinnati tonight. They face Charlotte FC - first in Miami, then in Charlotte - for their final two matches of the season.
The stakes in those matches are incomparably higher for Charlotte FC. With their 0-2 win in Chicago tonight, Charlotte controls its own destiny in the MLS playoff race.
If Charlotte can win the next two, they’re in - and they’ll finish in 8th place, hosting the Eastern Conference Wild Card match.
“First, we need to recover. This is the first game in a small space of time,” said Lattanzio in a post-match press conference on Saturday. “I want them to take some days to recover mentally and physically.”
Charlotte’s next match is at Miami on Wednesday, October 18. It is unclear if Lionel Messi will be available, either due to international duty, injury, or both.
“I’m going to study Miami and study us very carefully,” said Lattanzio. “We have been playing our game most of the time and so we want to keep our identity.”
Two Good Wins in a Row
Charlotte is still in the playoff chase thanks to quality wins against Toronto FC on Wednesday and the Chicago Fire tonight. With a combined five goals - three from Karol Świderski penalties - and two clean sheets from Kristijan Kahlina, Charlotte is playing like a team that wants to go deep into the playoffs.
We spoke to Świderski after Charlotte’s 3-0 win against Toronto FC:
Some Charlotte FC Updates
We’ll have more on this later, but congrats to all of Charlotte’s players nominated for end of year awards - with special congratulations to Adilson Malanda on his double nominations for Defender of the Year and Young Player of the Year.
Charlotte’s nominees are below; the full nominations are available here:
Landon Donovan MLS MVP
Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year
MLS Defender of the Year
MLS Newcomer of the Year Nominees
The best newcomer in MLS during the 2023 regular season. For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player who had previous professional experience and made his MLS debut in 2023.
MLS Young Player of the Year Nominees
The best young player in MLS during the 2023 regular season. For this award, any “young player” in MLS who is age 22 or younger during the calendar year is eligible for the award. For 2023, any player born on or after Jan. 1, 2001, is eligible. Any player born on or before Dec. 31, 2000, is ineligible.
MLS Comeback Player of the Year Nominees
Honors an MLS player who has overcome a severe injury and/or adversity and, as a result, missed a significant portion of the 2022 season – then shown improved performance to achieve success during the 2023 regular season.
Audi Goals Drive Progress Impact Award presented by MLS WORKS
This award recognizes an MLS player who demonstrates excellence in driving progress in their communities. Their dedication to charitable efforts and social impact work creates sustainable communities, fosters equity inclusions, and enriches the lives of those in need across the U.S. and Canada.
Some Soccer Sheet Updates
Our parent company/sister newsletter Y’all Weekly is up for the “Best Blog” award in Queen City Nerve’s “Best in the Nest” awards. You can vote for us here, and don’t forget about some of our many friends in the Charlotte FC ecosystem who are up for awards, including Carroll Walton, Jessica Charman, Brandt Bronico, Lloyd Sam, Mint City Collective, Charlotte Soccer Show, and even Sir Minty.
Brandt - aka “The Mayor” - is in a head-to-head match against LaMelo Ball - so if anything could prove Charlotte is a Soccer City, it’d be an upset in that category.
Speaking of Queen City Nerve, you can find my latest article on Charlotte FC here:
Additionally, I was happy to join friend of the blog Nic Finelli on the Charlotte FC Podcast. We talk about everything from the obvious (Charlotte FC) to the not-so-obvious, including how soccer is an opportunity to build community.
Finally, in case you missed it, we’ve recently expanded our social media presence. You can follow Soccer Sheet on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, TikTok, Twitter (who calls it X?), YouTube, and right here on Substack.
Special thanks to Yara Al Bayyari & Jesse Kimmel for their work on this front.
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