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Match Recap- MLS Debut in the Capital: DC United 3-0 Charlotte FC

written by: Ryan Allen

Goal summary:

  • DC: Michael Estrada 37’ (PK), 45+6’
  • DC: Ola Kamara 65’

Cards:

  • Yellow Cards: Christian Ortiz (Charlotte, 27’, dissent), 

Charlotte FC Lineup: 

  • Kristijan Kahlina, Jaylin Lindsey, Guzman Corujo, Christian Makoun, Christian Fuchs ©, Joseph Mora (Adam Armour 86’), McKinze Gaines (Daniel Rios 66’), Brandt Bronico (Ben Bender 78’), Alan Franco, Yordy Reyna (Jordy Alcivar 79’), Christian Ortiz (Chris Hegardt 86’)

Attendance: 16,412

Finally, our Charlotte FC has our first official match as a club. After years of build-up, let’s finally get down to business. 

Charlotte FC began their season in MLS 2022 with a 3-0 defeat to DC United, though a controversial VAR call in the first half defined the early portion of the game. Christian Ortiz found the back of the net, but a controversial offsides call brought the goal back, as we are still waiting for this club’s first ever score in MLS. Had that first half VAR call been overturned, the match might have been different. CLTFC joined the most recent MLS clubs in being the debutants who did not win their first match in the league–LAFC in 2018 were the last MLS expansion team to win their first match in the league. 

An encouraging fact from tonight is that Charlotte recorded 11 shots on the match, equaling that of victors DC United. With five shots on goal, Charlotte FC held the advantage over their opponents and should be encouraged by their first game efforts, compared to four shots on goal from DC United. Meanwhile, CLTFC had earned 6 corners across the match, as well as creating 19 crosses. 

Though the goals did not come, there was proof in that offensive output at what the club was attempting to create, especially so with 53.1% possession and 400+ passes over the course of the match. Below is the passing map for Charlotte, as Christian Fuchs (#22) and Christian Makoun (#14) and Guzman Corujo (#4) were involved in majority of the passing connections:

 

It should be noted that Yordy Reyna appears to have been isolated by the DC United defense, as Fuchs was the only Charlotte FC player to have a passing connection with Reyna in the match. 

As per MLS’ website, DC United won the xG 1.4 to 1.1: 

Below is the shot map for both clubs, as Charlotte FC created many of their 11 shots from inside the box, as only two shots were from beyond the box.

While it was not a poor performance from Charlotte FC, finding the back of the net proves to be a much needed area of improvement for the club. However, I do not believe CLTFC played terribly on Saturday, I think it was a product of some poor referee calls that impacted the game (if Ortiz’s goal had been ruled official, who knows how this game might have turned out) and unlucky finishing from our attackers. Many of these early season games, especially for expansion teams in MLS, are about finding a groove, seeing what works and what does not. Patience is key. For reference, in Austin FC’s first season in MLS last year, the club won just two of its first ten games. I believe it is important to set expectations at a reasonable level and give the team time to gel and work into form. The goals and results will come in time. 

But what do you think? How did Charlotte FC play in its first ever MLS match? What are your expectations for the rest of the season? 

Charlotte FC’s next match is their home opener on Saturday, 5 March 2022. With a capacity crowd expected, we are excited for the home opener as Charlotte FC hosts five-time MLS champions, LA Galaxy, at Bank of America Stadium at 7:30pm EST on Saturday March 5th, 2022. Up the Charlotte! 

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