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The Full Time Clip: Charlotte FC Lose at Home for the First Time in 2024

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

Minnesota United scored two goals just after halftime to pull away from CLTFC for a comfortable 3-0 away win at Bank of America Stadium

First Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Lindsey, Tuiloma, Privett, Uronen, Westwood, Diani, Dejaegere, Vargas, Abada, Copetti

As the sun broke through the rain clouds in North Carolina during warmups, Charlotte FC was dealt an early blow with Scott Arfield having to bow out of the starting lineup due to an injury. Brecht Dejaegere replaced him in the attacking midfield role and Nick Scardina filled the open bench spot.

After that unfortunate start, the crowd was treated to an electric opening five minutes. Kristijan Kahlina made a top-class save on the defensive end, diving the opposite way from his momentum to claw out a sure goal from Minnesota forward Tan Oluwaseyi. At the other end, Liel Abada led a fast break - emphasis on the fast - that ended with a Kerwin Vargas shot blazed over the bar.

Both wingers were threatening with their pace early on. Abada broke through again on the right side a few minutes later to deliver a cross towards Enzo Copetti. The defender was in a good position but misplayed it before eventually getting it clear. Then it was Vargas' turn to break through on the left, where he dragged a shot-cross across goal to Abada. It had far too much pace on it, though, for the winger to direct it on goal.

The next big chance came in the 24th minute from a CLTFC corner. Jere Uronen, stationed on top of the box, picked up the clearance and lobbed it back into the box. Bill Tuiloma was completely unmarked and executed a great diving header, but Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair came up with an even better save to push it wide.

The match was fairly even at this point, and the Loons created the next quality opportunity in the 28th minute. Franco Fragapane pinged the ball on a rope to the top of the box, where Wil Trapp struck it sweetly on the volley and sent it fizzing inches wide of the post.

Two minutes later, Minnesota opened the scoring. Robin Lod, Uronen's teammate with Finland, picked out Oluwaseyi with a brilliant ball over the top. The striker let it bounce once before striking it first-time on the volley, leaving Kahlina with no chance as he banked it in off the far post.

After that, the rest of the first half played out with relatively little action. Minnesota had a cross that Fragapane couldn't direct on frame, and Jaylin Lindsey had one late cross in stoppage time that nearly found a wide open Copetti if it weren't for a great defensive play on the front post.

Other than that, both teams were threatening at times, but neither could quite string together the final pass or shot that would test the opposing goalkeeper. And so, for the first time at home in 2024, Charlotte FC entered the halftime locker room trailing at the half.

Second Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Lindsey, Tuiloma, Privett, Uronen, Westwood, Diani (61'), Dejaegere (53'), Vargas (78'), Abada, Copetti (61')

Substitutions: Agyemang (53'), Petkovic (61'), Bronico (61'), Tavares (78')

Neither team made changes at halftime, and things didn't improve straight away in the second half.

Minnesota doubled their advantage less than four minutes in with a well-worked team goal. They stretched the Charlotte defense wide with a long ball to Joseph Rosales, who slipped it in behind for an overlapping Fragapane. The attacking midfielder cut it back to the penalty spot for Lod to finish smartly into the near post.

Head Coach Dean Smith made an immediate change, subbing out Brecht Dejaegere and bringing in Patrick Agyemang to go to a two-striker setup alongside Copetti.

However, things went from bad to worse immediately, as Minnesota scored a third from a corner with Hassani Dotson rising highest on top of the six-yard box to head it home past Kahlina. They should have had a fourth just minutes later, too, but Oluwaseyi put an excellent chance off the outside of the post.

By the 60th minute, Dean Smith had seen enough and made two extra changes. Brandt Bronico and Nikola Petkovic replaced Djibril Diani and Enzo Copetti, respectively.

Unfortunately, things didn't improve much with the additions, as Charlotte still struggled to break down the Minnesota defense. The team was loose in possession in one of those frustrating matches where every bounce seemed to go the opposite way.

In the 78th minute, Charlotte FC made a final change with Iuri Tavares entering for Kerwin Vargas.

Agyemang crafted a good chance for himself in the 81st minute, controlling a Westwood pass before sending three defenders the wrong way to open up a channel on his left foot. However, Kervin Arriaga put in an excellent sliding block to kill off the chance.

From there, CLTFC dominated possession but could not carve out a goal to give themselves a fighting chance down the stretch. Iuri Tavares had the best chance, but he put his free header wide of the post with the last play of the match.

Ultimately, the team fell to its first loss at Bank of America Stadium in 13 MLS matches by a 3-0 scoreline.

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