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 Charlotte FC

Play Boldy: Ingredients of the Match

June 21, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Charlotte FC News Release

Charlotte FC start off a stretch of five away fixtures in six matches with a trip to Chester, Pennyslvania to wrap up their regular season series against the Philadelphia Union.

Here are the three ingredients of the match:

Neutralize Philadelphia's High Press

Philadelphia Union is renowned for their aggressive high press and quick transitions, which have been the cornerstone of their success over the years. However, a critical part of their press is their defensive midfielder, José Martínez who forces opponents into mistakes and capitalizes on turnovers to create scoring opportunities. However, he's on international duty, which could help open things up for The Crown.

Charlotte FC must focus on composure and precision in their build-up play. Building from the back, the defenders and midfielders need to stay calm under pressure, using short, quick passes to bypass Philadelphia's pressing traps. Players like Ashley Westwood will be crucial in orchestrating the play and finding outlets through the flanks or via long balls to exploit spaces left behind by the pressing Union.

Quick transitions and maintaining possession in tight areas will disrupt Philadelphia's rhythm, allowing Charlotte to dictate the tempo and avoid costly errors.

Exploit Space Behind the Wingbacks

Philadelphia Union often employ a system that heavily utilizes their wingbacks, Kai Wagner and Olivier Mbaizo, to provide width and support in attack. While this strategy creates overloads on the flanks, it also leaves space behind them that Charlotte FC can exploit.

The pace and agility of Charlotte's wide players, particularly Kerwin Vargas and Leil Abada, will once again be essential in this game. By positioning themselves to take advantage of the spaces left by the advancing wingbacks, they can create opportunities on the counter-attack.

Accurate through balls and quick switches of play can catch the Union off guard, isolating their center backs and providing opportunities for direct runs towards goal. The key will be quick transitions from defense to attack, catching Philadelphia's backline off balance and creating one-on-one situations.

Play Boldly

Through May, Charlotte FC established themselves as a formidable team at Bank of America Stadium. With a stellar home record of six wins, four draws, and just one loss, they rank among the best in the league on their own turf.

In contrast, their performance away from home has been less impressive, marked by only two wins, five losses, and one draw. However, Head Coach Dean Smith has been working on changing the team's mindset, encouraging them to replicate their home-game approach when on the road.

"We shouldn't be scared or timid to play on the road," stated midfielder Brandt Bronico. "We should go out there and do what we do here and take points from opposing teams."

The positive shift in attitude is starting to bear fruit. The recent 3-2 victory over Atlanta exemplifies Charlotte FC's growing confidence away from home. As they prepare to take on Philadelphia Union in Chester, the goal is to continue to build on that momentum.

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