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Full Time: Charlotte FC Earn Hard-Fought Point in Comeback Against a Stingy New York Red Bulls

March 25, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Charlotte FC News Release

Charlotte FC's match against the New York Red Bulls was the epitome of a battle. Both sides were well-organized, physical, and willing to do all the dirty work. It didn't make for the most entertaining match but it was continued progress from Charlotte who came back for the first time this season to earn a point.

First Half

Lineup: Marks, Lindsey, Byrne, Malanda, Jones, Bronico, Santos, Gaines, Vargas, Copetti

The opening minutes consisted of Charlotte patiently passing the ball around the back waiting for Red Bulls to give them any sort of opening but NYRB wasn't budging. After 15 minutes of facing what seemed to be an immovable wall of Red Bull players, the Crown finally found their first opening. It was a long ball that opened up the visitors and allowed Kerwin Vargas to whip in a dangerous cross that transformed into a shot that goalkeeper Carlos Coronel did well to stop.

Neither side was giving an inch for most of the half but Red Bulls best chance came in the 35th minute when a shot on target was saved by George Marks and fell to Elias Manoel who shanked his shot letting Charlotte off the hook. However, it was another individual mistake from Charlotte that had them going into the half a goal down despite an overall sound performance.

Nathan Byrne was at fault this time when he mistimed his touch on a backwards pass that Manoel was privy to. He won the shoulder collision with Byrne and this time didn't let Charlotte off the hook but instead slotted the ball home to give his team the lead.

Second Half

Lineup: Marks, Lindsey, Byrne, Malanda, Jones, Bronico, Santos (81'), Gaines (68'), Vargas, Copetti

Substitutes: Mello (68'), Bender (81')

Unlike the first half, the second half started quite eventful. A great bit of footwork from Nuno Santos led to a pass to Enzo Copetti in the box who laid it off to McKinze Gaines who didn't connect cleanly with his weaker left foot skying the shot. Red Bulls had a response of their own that George Marks answered with a big one handed save from a shot to his near post.

In the 68th minute, Vinicius Mello who had suffered with injuries all the 2022 season, made his first-ever MLS appearance. His debut would be a memorable one as it was his pass that unlocked the Red Bull defense. In the 74th minute, Mello floated a beautifully weighted pass to the far side of the penalty box where Kerwin Vargas was waiting to square to Copetti who was in the middle. NYRB defender Andres Reyes had to make an interception but in doing so deflected it back into his own net.

The goal gave Charlotte life as they amped up the pressure to push for a winner. Kerwin Vargas combined with Ben Bender who received the ball on the left side of the penalty box and crossed it to Jaylin Lindsey who just missed high with his header. The only other look on goal that the Red Bulls had was in the 87th minute with tepid shot that was comfortably saved by Marks.

Charlotte FC head back on the road next week as they travel north to face Toronto FC on Saturday, April 1 at 7:30PM.

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Major League Soccer Stories from March 25, 2023

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