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 Charlotte FC

Another Must Win Match: Ingredients of the Match

October 4, 2022 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Charlotte FC News Release

New Personnel Same Principles

Due to the rules surrounding match postponements, Charlotte FC will have to line up with the exact same lineup that stepped onto the pitch for the 16 minutes they could when they were initially meant to play. The matchday squads are 'frozen' which also means injuries can only be replaced with players on the squad that day.

Meaning interim head coach Christian Lattanzio will have to break up the starting eleven that has won three straight matches. However, even though the personnel will change, the principles shouldn't. Charlotte have had a very clear recipe for success in their 3-match win streak and the same principles still apply.

Two of those principles are defensive discipline and high intensity. Tracking runners, marking your man, and closing down space are all under the umbrella of defensive discipline. As for intensity, it's simple but so incredibly important - outworking and pressuring your opponent for 90 minutes straight (or in this case 74 minutes). Last but definitely not least, the third major principle we've seen throughout this winning streak is...

Threatening Wing Play

One of the areas that has stood out in Charlotte's three-match winning streak has been the wing play. Charlotte's wide array of wingers have been threatening throughout the season however the production hasn't really been there until recently.

McKinze Gaines's entry into the match against Chicago sparked the comeback and against the Union, the wingers played a direct role in every one of the four goals scored. The difference in this increased productivity from wingers comes from being more aggressive verticality combined with precise service.

Charlotte's wingers have been making more disruptive runs in behind teams as well as being more aggressive in taking opposing players on one on one. Once they have gotten into those threatening areas, they've been more decisive and accurate in their service which has created an increased amount of high-quality scoring chances for the team. Continuing this level of play and production from the wingers will especially be needed against the Crew who have the 2nd stingiest defense in the Eastern Conference.

Job's Not Done

Charlotte have won three straight matches with two of them coming against teams that sit above the playoff line. As exhilarating as those wins were, the job is still far from done. As the cliché goes, making sure your highs aren't too high and your lows aren't too low is an essential part of remaining grounded throughout an intense series of matches.

"I think before when we won games and we come in for the next week, we start to play a little bit soft, like we had too much confidence," Swiderski said after the comeback win against the Chicago Fire.

The mentality has clearly shifted as the team wasn't complacent against the Philadelphia Union which led to the 4 - 0 trashing of the Eastern Conference leaders following the match against Chicago. Like every match in this last five-game stretch, they have another six-pointer ahead of them against the Crew and approaching it with the same balance of humility and confidence will keep the team mentally steady and focused for a must-win game.

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