Winning the Long Balls: Ingredients of the Match
It's been nearly 6 months since Charlotte FC's first encounter with the Philadelphia Union. Both teams have gone through changes since then but what hasn't changed is that the Crown will have to be at their very best to the Eastern Conference leaders.
Here are the three ingredients of the match:
False Sense of Security
As of late, the Union have been putting up ludicrous scoring numbers but it's not necessarily reflective of the way they like to play. They aren't the flashy, offensive team that looks to dominate the ball you'd think they'd be with their recent run of form.
Rather, they prefer to lull teams into a false sense of security by conceding possession and then pounce when the moment is right. The Union have only averaged 44% possession this season, but they couldn't care less. Chances are Charlotte are going to have the majority of the ball in this matchup.
While in one way a positive because the team will be able to play their preferred game, it can also be a double-edged sword. It's easy to get comfortable in a match and lose sharpness if you have the majority of the possession but that's exactly how the Union wants you to feel. The match will require the team to remain laser-focused for all 90 minutes because Philadelphia are counting on their opponents to get complacent and make mistakes.
Winning the Long Balls
The team is going to have to stay especially sharp specifically in order to handle the Union's threat in transition. Philadelphia are one of the quickest teams in transitioning defense to attack and their favorite method to do so is by long passes in the air.
Philadelphia are ranked 2nd in most high balls attempted this season but are ranked 2nd to last in ground passes. The statistics paint a clear picture of Union's methodology that they have perfected this season. CLTFC know firsthand the threat of Philadelphia's long balls as that's how they conceded the first goal in their previous confrontation. Staying aware of runs in behind that can be potential passing options and always being ready to drop in order to be positioned to win the long balls will help be key to stifling Philadelphia's prolific attack.
Build on Belief
Charlotte won consecutive matches for the time since early July when they beat New York City FC and followed it up by eliminating the Chicago Fire form playoff contention in dramatic fashion. They were wins that showed the continued progression of the team and can serve as building blocks for belief in the remainder of the season.
Against NYCFC they held on to a 1 - 0 lead with 10 men for over 40 minutes and against the Fire they mounted an astounding comeback away from home. All scenarios that required an incredible amount of self-belief to overcome. Getting a win against a Philadelphia team that is on pace to break MLS records is another daunting challenge ahead but if these past few matches have proved anything, it's that if the belief is there, the team is capable of anything.
In partnership with Harris Teeter, CLTFC is bringing you the Ingredients of the Match ahead of every time our team takes the pitch during this inaugural season. While the ingredients may differ from week to week, one thing we can all agree on is when it comes to matchday, it's all about the food and the preparation and Harris Teeter has what you need. Score big with deals from great brands like Takis Rolled Tortilla and Takis Waves Chips from Barcel USA, Red Bull Energy Drinks and Ready to Drink Cold Brew and Draft Lattes from La Colombe for your matchday personal prep! Harris Teeter, an Official Grocery Store of Charlotte FC!
• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...
Major League Soccer Stories from September 28, 2022
- Inter Miami CF to Host Celebra Tu Patria Hispanic Heritage Night Presented by Espolòn Tequila on October 5 - Inter Miami CF
- News & Notes from Week 33: Rubio Chasing History in Final Home Game of 2022ÃÂ - Colorado Rapids
- LAFC and Kaiser Permanente Celebrate Five Years Together as a Force for Good in Los Angeles - Los Angeles FC
- International Round-Up: City Trio Return from Duty - New York City FC
- Match Preview: Inter Miami CF to Visit Toronto FC on Friday in Final 2022 Regular Season Road GameÃÂ - Inter Miami CF
- Matchday Guide: Fan Appreciation Saturday Night at TQL Stadium - FC Cincinnati
- Showing the Team's Character Was a Long Time Coming for Brandt Bronico - Charlotte FC
- TQL Stadium Wins Global "Best Venue" Award - FC Cincinnati
- Playoff Watch: Two Games Remain for the Orange and Blue - FC Cincinnati
- Winning the Long Balls: Ingredients of the Match - Charlotte FC
- Keys to the Match: Refreshed and Ready to Go - New York City FC
- Earthquakes Legend Shea Salinas Announces Retirement Following 2022 Season - San Jose Earthquakes
- Minnesota United Re-Signs Emanuel Reynoso to New Three-Year Contract - Minnesota United FC
- Sounders FC Draws 1-1 at Home with FC Cincinnati - Seattle Sounders FC
- FC Cincinnati Set League's Longest Unbeaten Streak in Draw at Seattle Sounders - FC Cincinnati
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Charlotte FC Stories
- Three Group Stage Takeaways for the US Men's National Team
- Charlotte FC to Compete in Second Annual Coachella Valley Invitational at Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA
- Karol Świderski Starts for Poland in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 against Lionel Messi's Argentina
- Charlotte FC Sells Midfielder Jordy Alcívar to Independiente Del Valle
- Charlotte FC FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Watch Party: USA vs Wales