Discover more from Soccer Sheet
Totaled Thrones, Instagram Intrigue, and a Football Feature
Catch up on Charlotte FC's entire season thus far
This week, I wrote my longest piece on the Charlotte Football Club yet, a review of the club’s inaugural season and my expectations for the final 14 fixtures of the year:
In Houston, Charlotte’s offense came together for the first time since Lattanzio’s first match as head coach, and by the 28th minute they had forced an own goal. Shinyashiki came off the bench in the second half and scored within three minutes, putting the match out of reach.
The club has shown that it can win at home and on the road. When the team is good, they’re really good — and fun to watch.
Against Nashville, the team’s most recent match as we go to press, Charlotte played like a new team and Świderski played like a new man, scoring his first goal in almost four months. The win seemed effortless.
I’m going to make a bold prediction I left out of the column and saved for the newsletter: I predict Charlotte ends the season with 44 points (plus or minus a win), which will be far from first place but good enough for the playoffs.
Charlotte first challenge is this Saturday, July 16, in Miami. Charlotte beat Miami 1-0 at home but is yet to beat a team at home and away. At a pre-match day press conference, interim head coach Christian Lattanzio described their opponent: “[Miami] is a good team … they have good players, again, well-coached, well-organized,” said Lattanzio. “We have to be really focused when we go there and we have to play at our best.”
Both Lattanzio and midfielder Ben Bender think the consecutive wins against Houston and Nashville have increased the team’s confidence. “Those two wins were super important for us,” said Bender at a pre-match day press conference. “We're going to take that energy, and everything we have and give it our best shot as we go into that game on Saturday. I think the energy is high in the locker room. The camaraderie is great throughout the team. And yeah, I think we're going to do well in Miami on Saturday.”
However, Charlotte faces an unexpected challenge. Key defender Guzmán Corujo suffered an injury last week against Nashville and may not be available against Miami. Lattanzio, however, believes his current team has grown since they last faced Miami on May 7:
“I think we are different from the team that played Miami [because] every coach has got his own way of interpreting the system of play and the principle of play. I think we are a team [that is] trying to play our own football and trying to [find] the magic formula that everyone is looking for and nobody has … we want to, ideally, higher up on the pitch as much as possible, and in this sense we want to create more [opportunities], but obviously we have to get this balance right.”
After Miami, Charlotte has a friendly at home against top-flight English Premier League team Chelsea F.C. on July 20 before travelling to Toronto for a July 23 match, the team’s second-ever on Canadian soil. Charlotte comes back home on July 30 to host Columbus after a 1-1 draw in June, and I’ve got 2 supporters section tickets to give away to subscribers and Twitter followers.
After the loss to Charlotte on Saturday, I don’t imagine Nashville supporters were happy, but this is ultimatum from their supporters groups takes the cake:
After breaking the “throne” during a goal celebration on Saturday, Karol Świderski wants you to know it will be fixed in time of the next home match:
Finally, Christian Makoun fueled trade rumors when some Charlotte-related photos disappeared from his Instagram:
Now, they’re back:
Watch Party of the Week
Finally, if you’re interested in watching the match with fans on Saturday, look no further than Tommy’s Pub in east Charlotte:
Who knows, I may even see you there!
Thanks for reading Soccer Sheet! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.