Real Salt Lake's Resurrection Ends Charlotte's Unbeaten Streak
We're giving away Open Cup tickets; St. Louis Loses in Seattle; Charlotte Independence Advance in Open Cup
Open Cup Giveaway
Before we get into a bad week for Charlotte, here’s the good news: we’re giving away three pairs of tickets to Charlotte FC’s first Open Cup match of the year against South Georgia Tormenta FC on April 25. It’s also the first time Charlotte has ever played the Open Cup at home, so don’t miss out! Enter by making sure you’re subscribed to Soccer Sheet, and liking the Instagram post below:
A “Low Energy” Charlotte Loss
After winning their season opener, Real Salt Lake lost four matches in a row, giving up 12 goals and only scoring one. Charlotte FC travelled to Utah hoping to take advantage of RSL’s bad form and notch their second win of what so far has been an underwhelming season.
For the first half, all was going to plan for Charlotte. Midfielder Ben Bender connected with designated player Karol Świderski for a 27th minute goal, while goalkeeper George Marks kept up a clean sheet despite a lethargic Charlotte performance. Charlotte went into the locker room with a lead and a chance to come home with three points, and Marks was giving his squad a Man of the Match performance.
Then Salt Lake scored three goals in six minutes.
After the match, Charlotte coach Christian Lattanzio attributed the loss to a “low-energy” performance from his team. On a similar note, he explained a controversial triple substitution after the third RSL goal - taking out Świderski and Bender, along with speedster Kerwin Vargas - by citing their fatigue.
Marks, for his part, didn’t blame the loss on any of his teammates, but focused on what he had to do as a goalkeeper:
“I’m looking inward at my own performance first. There’s always going to be things I can improve especially when I give up a goal, much less three goals. So I’m going to have a lot of tape to look at tonight … I could have done a lot better tonight.”
“We’ve got to figure this thing out together and get results going back in the direction that we want them to.”
With the loss, Charlotte (1-4-2) holds steady in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, while Salt Lake (2-4-0) improves to 10th in the West.
St. Louis’ First Losing Streak
Expansion club St. Louis CITY SC shocked Major League Soccer by winning their first five matches in a feat that probably won’t be replicated by an expansion club ever again. Minnesota United FC brought them back down to reality last week with a narrow 0-1 win off of a 78th minute penalty, and this week the Seattle Sounders played a stellar second half at home to beat St. Louis 3-0 and claim first place in the Western Conference.
“I think our game with the ball was not good enough today,” said St. Louis goalkeeper Roman Bürki after the match. “We kind of had a lot of room sometimes with the ball but through like bad passes or not good quality passes we brought ourselves in difficult situations and I mean, yeah we had one chance and that was basically it so that's the reason for that.”
St. Louis coach Bradley Carnell thought the team could have worked a lot harder, but was optimistic for the future:
“We don't take this loss lightly. You know, there's a lot of good things to look at and a lot of poor things to look at. So yeah, excited to see now our response, excited to see how the boys take information, excited how we stay together as a group and get through this. I mean, yeah, it's unfortunate, and we move on and tomorrow's a new day.”
Charlotte Independence Beat Appalachian FC in Open Cup
With a 2-0 win over Appalachian FC in the second round, the USL 1 league-leading Charlotte Independence advance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup to play USL Championship squad Charleston Battery in South Carolina at 7:00 PM on April 25.
2,564 fans came out to the Matthews Sportsplex on Wednesday, April 5 to see the Jacks take on the Sasquatch from Boone, N.C. The victory marks the Independence’s first win in Open Cup play since 2017. Last year, the Independence went out in the second round, losing to the NC Fusion; this year, Appalachian FC took care of the Fusion in a first round match decided by penalties.
With the second round win, it also marks the first time both the Independence and Charlotte FC will be playing in the third round of the Open Cup together. Should both teams win, they could meet in the Round of 32. In 2022, Charlotte made it to the Round of 16 before falling to the New York Red Bulls 3-1 at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
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