Lattanzio: Guzmán Corujo out for season
Lattanzio updates media on Corujo's right ACL injury at a Wednesday Press Conference
While Charlotte FC’s 2-3 home loss to the Chicago Fire was frustrating and unlucky, the bigger loss was Guzmán Corujo, who left the match in the first half with a knee injury. At a post-match press conference, Charlotte interim head coach Christian Lattanzio said the injury “didn’t look good.”
Now it’s official: Corujo is out for the season. Lattanzio confirmed an injury to his right ACL earlier today at a press conference.
Today, Lattanzio told me “Guzmán is one of the leaders of this team and a natural-born defender … I believe he is going to be a big loss for us … he’s important on the pitch and off the pitch.” Lattanzio made it clear he sees value in Corujo’s leadership and strategic expertise, and will continue to make sure Corujo plays a role with the club while he recovers.
“We must first and foremost support the player who got the injury,” Lattanzio said of Corujo. The defender celebrated his 26th birthday last week, so Corujo still has many years left of play if he can make a full recovery.
Watch our full conversation here:
Charlotte Loses a “Talisman”
In previous interviews, Lattanzio told me Corujo is a “talisman,” a key leader on the pitch and in the locker room, as evidenced when he takes over the captain’s duties in the absence of Christian Fuchs. Other players have told me they value his leadership, and whether it’s on or off the record, no player or member of the Charlotte FC organization has ever had a bad word to say about the Uruguayan defender.
While Charlotte has lost players for the season before, including Adam Armour with a similar injury, Corujo leaves a major gap. Corujo leaves 2022 with an impressive 25 starts in 25 matches, the only player to start every match, with a total of 2,082 minutes played, second only to goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina.
In front, he ends the season with 1 goal, 11 shots, and 4 shots on target. In back, he led the team with 40 interceptions, had 109 clearances and 21 blocks, and won 59% of his tackles. He averaged 52 passes a game as a key part of Charlotte’s network, trailing only midfielder Brandt Bronico in total accurate passes. The Charlotte “heavy” is tied with Bronico and others for most yellow cards on the team at 4.
It’s up to others to maximize their opportunities
Corujo’s exit comes at a critical moment for a Charlotte team that still has playoff hopes amid inconsistent play, trouble on the road, and shakeups in the lineup.
“It’s up to others to maximize their opportunities [now],” said Lattanzio. “We need to adapt. This is football and this can happen.”
Due to the postponed Columbus match, Charlotte has 10 opportunities to win left. They currently sit at 11th in the MLS table, one point out of the playoffs. With the addition of Adilson Malanda and Nathan Byrne, Charlotte will have two new defenders to shore up their back line in Corujo’s absence. Charlotte was down an additional defender after trading Christian Makoun to New England for general allocation money.
However, Lattanzio told us visa issues continue to cast doubt on the start of the new defenders.
In case you missed it
Catch up on the last couple weeks of Charlotte FC with my column in Queen City Nerve.
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