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The Full Time Clip: Charlotte FC Take Crucial Three Points at Philadelphia Behind Patrick Agyemang Brace

June 22, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Charlotte FC News Release


Agyemang scored two excellent goals early in the second half to lead CLTFC to victory on the road.

First Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Byrne, Malanda, Privett, Uronen, Westwood, Bronico, Bender, Abada, Vargas, Agyemang

Saturday's match between Charlotte FC and the Philadelphia Union started with some fresh faces in the lineup on both sides. For CLTFC, Ben Bender made his first start of the season after recovering from offseason knee surgery, and for the Union, 18-year-old Homegrown goalkeeper Andrew Rick made his first MLS start.

Both teams traded early chances in the opening five minutes, with both Liel Abada and Patrick Agyemang fashioning shots on goal early on. In the defensive end, though, Kristijan Kahlina made some problems for himself with two turnovers playing out of the back. The second of those resulted in Mikael Uhre rolling a shot towards an empty net, but Adilson Malanda rushed back to calmly stop the ball on the goal line and save the chance.

In the ninth minute, Philadelphia center-back Jakob Glesnes stepped forward and struck a shot from a distance he's been famous for, forcing Kahlina to palm over the crossbar. Charlotte then had to defend what seemed like an endless stream of consecutive corners, but they stood firm as a good-sized crowd in Philadelphia got behind their home team.

Through about the 25th minute, CLTFC struggled to settle into the match as Philadelphia looked dangerous with quick switches of play and crosses into their forward pairing of Uhre and Tai Baribo.

Abada did have two chances, the first of which was in the 23rd minute from a Vargas cross, but he couldn't direct it on goal as he was locked in a physical battle with his defender. He blazed the second chance over the bar three minutes later from an Ashley Westwood cutback.

A cooling break at the half-hour mark due to the high temperature gave Head Coach Dean Smith and his staff an opportunity to reorganize their team.

From that point, CLTFC found a better footing in the match.

Liel Abada was once again central to the attack. In the 33rd minute, Nathan Byrne found him in a great pocket between the lines. The winger turned and drove through the defense, but a deflection on his shot took the speed from it, allowing Rick to catch easily. Agyemang also had an excellent chance from a corner, but he saw the ball late and couldn't direct his header on target from a few yards out.

On the other end, Kahlina recovered well from his early turnovers. Nathan Harriel had a quick shot through traffic, and the Croatian did well to hold onto the low ball and prevent any rebound opportunities.

Ultimately, neither team could finish their chances in the first half, and the sides went to halftime tied at nil-nil.

Second Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Byrne, Malanda, Privett, Uronen, Westwood, Bronico, Bender (71'), Abada (90'), Vargas (90'), Agyemang (71')

Substitutions: Diani (71'), Tavares (71'), Dejaegere (90'), Smalls (90')

Neither team made changes to start the second half, and the first ten minutes looked similar to the first half with sluggish energy (from a CLTFC perspective).

However, in the 56th minute, Charlotte FC changed that and opened the scoring with a slick back-to-front goal. Ready...?

Kahlina broke a line to Brandt Bronico, who in turn broke a line to Westwood. The captain pinged it wide to Vargas, with Jere Uronen bombing forward on the overlap. Bender played a one-time pass out to the left back, taking a heavy foul in the process (which referee Alexis Da Silva played an excellent advantage on). Uronen whipped in a cross to Agyemang, who strongly held off Jack Elliott and powered his header into the top corner.

That left-sided combination continued to bear fruit in the 61st minute. After some neat passing sequences, Agyemang nearly curled one into the top corner from the top of the box but got under his shot too much.

In the 63rd minute, though, the young American striker did double the lead. Abada scorched forward with his trademark pace on the right side to start a three vs three counter. He slipped it forward to Agyemang, who drove right at Glesnes and cut inside on his left foot. Instead of making the pass to Abada or Bender, he went for the goal himself, rifling it in at Rick's near post.

Straight after, Kahlina continued to do his part, making two impressive stops on Quinn Sullivan. The first was a relatively routine stop from distance, but the second was an excellent close-range save.

Dean Smith made his first two changes to protect the result with 20 minutes to go. Djibril Diani came into the midfield, Bender exited, and Bronico slid up to the attacking midfield spot. Iuri Tavares also replaced star man Agyemang up top.

Bronico nearly made it three with his first involvement further up the field, playing a one-two with Tavares for a clean look one-on-one with Rick. The 18-year-old, however, made a strong save down to his right to keep the deficit at two.

After the second-half cooling break, Chris Donovan had a decent chance at the near post from a low Sullivan cross, but it hit Kahlina's side netting.

Going the other way, Byrne went on a scything run through multiple lines of the Union defense and laid it off for Vargas when he reached the box, but the Colombian fired his shot over the bar. Bronico also served in a great cross for a free Abada on the back post. His one-time shot, though, ripped into the outside of the side net.

The referee added a substantial eight minutes of stoppage time, but the Union appeared resigned to defeat. They made half-hearted attempts to score while Charlotte maintained their dominance. Substitutes such as Iuri Tavares and Brecht Dejaegere displayed great poise in closing out the match.

Charlotte's impressive form persists, with just one loss in their last ten games. After enduring a grueling schedule of three matches in a week, they now have a chance to recuperate before facing a challenging away game in Houston next week.

UP NEXT AT THE FORTRESS:

Party of the Summer | CLT vs MIA | Wed., July 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Start the 4th of July party early and celebrate with a post-match fireworks show as Charlotte FC hosts Inter Miami CF on July 3 at 7:30 p.m. The first fans to arrive will receive a Charlotte FC light up rally towel presented by Blue Cross NC.


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