Opportunities out Wide: Ingredients of the Match

June 1, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Charlotte FC News Release

The second match of the Charlotte FC's regular season series against the Columbus Crew is underway this Saturday. The Crown got the best of the Crew in Bank of America Stadium but now find themselves as the visitors.

Here are the three ingredients of the match against the Crew:

Swarm Zelarayán

The talisman of the Columbus Crew is their number ten, Lucas Zelerayán, but he was near not existent when these two sides met in Bank of America Stadium. He had the lowest amount of successful take-ons (0), progressive carries (2), carries into final third (0), and passes into the penalty area (0) in a match so far this season. This was credit to Head Coach Christian Lattanzio's game plan and execution by the players.

Derrick Jones and Brandt Bronico did not leave the Argentine out of their sights, and any time he touched the ball he was swarmed by CLTFC players. Nothing changes in their second encounter of the season. Minimizing Zelarayán's space to progress the ball with his dribblng and passing significantly minimizes the threat of the Crew's attack.

Just ask the Colorado Rapids what happens when you give him free reign... In the Crew's 3-2 midweek win against the Rapids, Zelarayán was involved in every one of the three goals - something the Crown will want to avoid in their visit to Field.

Opportunities Out Wide

In addition to staying true to the defensive tactics that worked the last time around, the same applies for the offensive side. As a team that nearly always out possesses opponents due to pushing numbers forward, Columbus's weakness continues to be in transition and particularly in those wide areas.

Charlotte are no strangers to creating transition moments as they are ranked 3rd in the league in most high turnovers created as of last week. The key for Charlotte to make those moments as threatening as possible will be to play it to a wide outlet as soon as they win the ball back because there will be acres of space behind Columbus's wingbacks to exploit.

It was a diagonal pass from Bill Tuiloma into that open space finding Kamil Jóźwiak that ended up creating the game winning goal for the Crown back in April. Those opportunities will continue to be there for the taking and perhaps even more so against a makeshift Crew defense that has a backline consisting of players out of position.

Give Your All

Everyone knows it's been a brutal month for Charlotte in terms of travel and the sheer number of matches they've had to play. They've had to balance a congested schedule that has seen them play twice a week in the midst of several injury woes. Despite the challenges in the scheduling, Christian Lattanzio still demands the same intensity with every match.

Continuing to give their all, to play with urgency, and leaving it all on the pitch is always important but against a side they are even on points with and a direct playoff position competitor the stakes are even higher. Every little bit of energy the team has needs to be used up against the Crew to end this stretch of away matches strong putting themselves in a strong position to make playoffs.

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