Charlotte FC

Match Preview: Charlotte FC vs. New York City FC

February 23, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Charlotte FC News Release

Charlotte FC enter the club's third season with a new coach at the helm: Dean Smith. The Englishman's squad will look to continue their preseason momentum after going undefeated across six games and keeping four consecutive clean sheets in their last four.

Now, the team will open their 2024 MLS campaign against New York City FC on Saturday, February 24th in front of an open upper deck at Bank of America Stadium. Here is everything you need to know ahead of the match.

Match: Charlotte FC vs New York City FC

When: Saturday, February 24th

Where: Bank of America Stadium

Kickoff: 7:30pm ET

Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV - How to Watch & Listen

Listen: WFNZ 92.7 FM (English) & WOLS 106.1 FM (Spanish)

For all other radio station affiliates in the Carolinas, click here.

Know Before You Go: For details on match day at Bank of America Stadium, click here.

Capitalizing on Home Opener Hype

Charlotte FC's home opener at Bank of America Stadium will likely be the world's highest-attended soccer match in the world on Saturday. Without a doubt, it will be the highest-attended game in MLS on Saturday, with 60,000-plus expected.

Ultimately, that means a lot of extra hype around the match. Bank of America Stadium will be buzzing, ready to explode in cheers, and the team on the field needs to capitalize on the energy in the stands.

"We want to make sure that we're proving them [the fans] right," Smith said in Thursday's press conference. "Because I can feel that they're behind us."

To do this, all eleven players need to keep their composure in a high-pressure environment. Calmly sticking to the principles that Head Coach Dean Smith has put in place throughout preseason will be paramount to win a home opener for the first time in Club history.

New Head Coach, New Style

Charlotte FC changed coaching leadership this offseason, electing to part ways with Christian Lattanzio and bring in respected former Premier League manager, Dean Smith. Smith has made an immediate impact on the team throughout preseason, emphasizing a culture of togetherness and clear, direct principles of play.

On Saturday, expect to see a team that first focuses on defending at an excellent level ("being hard to beat", as Smith described in Thursday's press conference and throughout preseason).

"It [our defensive style] looks like one that teams will struggle to play through," Smith said. "We want to be compact and make them go where we want them to go to trap them and try and win the ball back..."

Offensively, Smith wants his players focused on playing the ball forward and breaking lines at every opportunity. Keeping possession is always an option, but the team will attack directly and at speed in general.

"...When we win the ball back," Smith continued. "We want to go and score or create a chance as quickly as possible. If not, we'll look to stay on the ball and open them up."

This includes having his strikers - Enzo Copetti and Patrick Agyemang - focused on their strengths: running in behind to stretch the defense and getting in the box as often as possible to score goals.

The Opponent

New York City FC has been a kind opponent for Charlotte FC in the past. The Crown has an undefeated record against the Pigeons, notching three wins and one draw in their four all-time matchups.

This year's NYCFC squad is very much revamped after missing the MLS playoffs last year, with multiple young, exciting signings arriving in the offseason. Head Coach Nick Cushing has the team capitalizing on their high press, which Caleb Adams broke down further in this week's Ingredients of the Match.

The (Pre)Season So Far

Charlotte FC wrapped up a five-week preseason last Saturday, with an opening stint in Miami, Florida and a closing stint in Indio, California for the Coachella Valley Invitational.

The team gelled well under Head Coach Dean Smith, and his principles of play quickly became apparent. The team was "hard to beat", keeping four straight clean sheets in their last four games to wrap up an undefeated preseason (three wins, three draws).

Enzo Copetti and Ashley Westwood, key contributors in Smith's team, both got a goal to boost confidence going into the home opener. Smith spread the playing time around throughout to ensure that all the players in the squad arrive to February 24th at peak fitness.

Now, the team will look to take their preseason momentum and turn it into regular season success against New York City FC this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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