Rebuild the Fortress: Ingredients of the Match

March 23, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Charlotte FC News Release

Charlotte FC returns home with three points as they earned their first win of the season against Orlando City. Things don't get easier for the Crown as now they have to play against the New York Red Bulls. However, CLTFC beat the Red Bulls at home last season and are more than capable of doing it again.

Here are the three ingredients of the match against the Red Bulls:

Rebuild the Fortress

One of the defining things about this team last season was how they turned Bank of America Stadium into a fortress. Only one other MLS expansion side in history won more games at home in their first season than Charlotte did with their 10 wins.

It was their home form that carried them into a position to compete for a playoff berth at the end of the season. No matter what, you could rely on the team showing up at home in front of fans. It didn't matter who the Crown were playing, their Fortress was the great equalizer. Charlotte needs to make BOA a fortress once again.

Their first home win and even the first home goal still evades them this season, but they are coming up against an opponent who've they beat at home before - the New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls are winless in their previous four away matches (D1 L3) providing an opportunity for Charlotte to kickstart their home form.

Leverage Crowd Early

The first step the team can take in rebuilding the Fortress is by leveraging the crowd early on in the match by having a strong start.

Charlotte have been slow to start in most of their matches this season, particularly at home. They've failed to capitalize on the crowd early on in both home matches so far this season. The Crown needs to give something for fans to cheer about early on to build energy and momentum.

Whether it's generating some exciting scoring opportunities or even just making a hard tackle, producing some early fervor in the crowd can push the team in the right direction and unsettle their opponents.

Direct Play

The style that head coach Christian Lattanzio wants his team to play revolves around possession and being patient but the win against Orlando City showed that this team can benefit with some direct play as well. Orlando was the first match that Charlotte lost the possession battle, but it was also their first win and being more direct played a role earning those first three points.

The first goal scored by Enzo Copetti was a long ball in behind by Jaylin Lindsey and Kerwin Vargas's first MLS goal came from a willingness to beat the opposing defender 1v1 and take a shot. Two different types of directness but that both resulted in goals.

The Red Bulls are as direct as a team as they come and will look to make things ugly. Against teams like this, sometimes you just can't play pretty through them, and being more direct can punish them. The notoriously high defensive line of the Red Bulls is an opening for Charlotte to play long balls in behind to players such as Copetti who thrive in such scenarios. Play direct enough and the team can force the Red Bulls to not press as high up allowing for more room and space to build out the back.

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