Editor’s Note: We are excited to announce that we’ll be having a new contributor on the site! Meet Rolo. Each week, Rolo will be bringing you a quick recap of the game along with some of his thoughts on it related to Lattanzio’s tactics.
We finally got our three points!
Charlotte FC fans are going to be able to enjoy their week knowing we now have some positive momentum after three consecutive losses. Coach Lattanzio made five changes following the 3-0 loss to Atlanta UTD, including dropping Nathan Byrne, Karol Świderski, Kamil Jóźwiak, and Andre Shinyashiki. Kerwin Vargas and McKinze Gaines got their names into the Starting XI, while Jaylin Lindsey and Ghanaian international Harrison Afful were put in as the fullback partners. That meant that Brandt Bronico was pushed forward into his preferred midfield position. Coach Christian Lattanzio chose to stray from his 4-2-3-1 and picked a 4–3-3 for this matchup. He was rewarded.
The first half looked good as Charlotte had more shots (7 vs. 4) and more shots on target (4 vs. 3) than Orlando. Charlotte was able to hold it pretty even with Orlando with both teams sharing 50 percent of possession and both teams having a similar amount of passes completed in the first half as Charlotte had 237 passes completed to Orlando’s 240.
The forward trio of Vargas, Gaines, and Copetti were vital in Charlotte gaining more opportunities, as they provided width and pressure, leading to Orlando’s mistakes.
The continuous pressure proved beneficial throughout the first half, with Bronico slotting a pass to Gaines in the 24th minute. Gaines’ shot challenged the Orlando keeper but was saved. One minute later, Charlotte got its reward. Goalkeeper George Marks passed a ball toward Ashley Westwood, who played a one-touch pass to Jaylin Lindsey. Lindsey pushed forward and hit a beautiful ball over the head of Orlando, which fell at the feet of Copetti. With a 1v1 against the goalkeeper, Copetti scored his second goal of the season.
Twelve minutes later, the second goal would come. Kerwin Vargas received the ball on the outside of the box and beat his defender, slotting the ball into the bottom left corner. Charlotte went into the half with a 2-0 lead. Ashley Westwood would receive a knock just before the end of the half and would later be subbed off at the beginning of the second half for Nuno Santos. Hopefully it is nothing serious and we’ll get an update later this week on his fitness.
The second half was not good from a Charlotte FC perspective and there isn’t much good to talk about for the Crown. Being 2-0 is one of the most deceiving score-lines in football. All it takes is one goal for the momentum to shift. This occurred in the 56th minute of the match when Martín Ojeda scored. He capitalized on the communication mistake of the Charlotte FC defenders, in particular Bill Tuiloma. Luckily, we were able to see the game out and escape with a full 3 points.
- I’m fed up with the amount of crossing we let into our box throughout each match. There are instances (such as the third-minute offside goal) where attacks coming from our left side are catching us out. It has been a consistent issue for our defense this year where attacks coming from the opposition right lead to crosses that provide ample scoring opportunity for them. In the thirty-third minute, again, too much space is allowed and a cross from the right side is put into a dangerous position. The fix for this is simple: the players need to do a better job of stopping our opponent’s from crossing, or at least make it more difficult for them to be put in.
- Our defensive lines are also being broken too easily. Look at the Orlando buildup in the 7th minute as an example of this. Marks makes a save, but it’s too easy for Torres (#17 on Orland) to get in and get a shot off.
- During the second half, Charlotte didn’t play to their strengths. Lattanzio’s philosophy calls for playing possession football with quick passes that lead to goal-scoring opportunities. In the second half, Orlando City held 62 percent of possession compared to Charlotte’s 38%. Orlando completed 262 passes compared to Charlotte’s 161 passes. Charlotte was held to one shot in the entire second half, compared to Orlando’s eleven shots.
- For me, the Man of the Match should be George Marks. He had five saves and his long ball would help in the lead-up to the Copetti goal. Marks was able to play a composed first half, which led to momentum being on Charlotte’s side early. He was also able to effectively push the distribution between players. The second half was much of the same from Marks. His saves in the last 10 minutes kept the win in place. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Marks throughout this season.
- Left-sided crosses: 0:32-0:36, 3:17-3:24, 6:07- 6:11
- Passes/crosses breaking the Charlotte defensive lines: 1:09- 1:17
- Pass from Bronico to Gaines shot challenging keeper: 2:09 – 2:13
- First goal: 2:17-2:32
- Vargas goal: 3:37-3:42
- The left-sided moment on the defense: 6:26-6:32
Editor’s note: For some reason, embedding the game highlights shows a “not available, watch on YouTube message.” I’m assuming this is a MLS/Apple thing, as we’ve not encountered this before. Link to the video is in the “Game Moments” heading!