Orlando City will attempt to get two straight road MLS wins this Sunday when the Lions travel north to take on Charlotte FC at 7 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium. Charlotte currently sits 10th in the Eastern Conference standings with a 10-14-2 record and 32 points, just one behind the Lions, who are sitting just above the playoff line at seventh in the Eastern Conference. Let’s take a deep dive into Charlotte FC’s numbers.
Charlotte is tied for 18th in goals scored this season (33), which is due in large part to the low number of total scoring attempts (287) the offense has created as it ranks 24th in this category. Part of the problem as to why Charlotte is not creating many total scoring attempts is because it has not been able to use the pass to help set up any scoring opportunities. The Crown is 18th in accurate forward zone passes (4,136) and tied for 23rd in assists (30), which has really hindered the team’s ability to create quality scoring opportunities on the offensive end. The Charlotte offense has, however, been able to capitalize on the scoring opportunities it does create, as the North Carolina-based side is one of the more accurate offensive teams in MLS. Charlotte is 11th in on-target scoring attempts (114). When you combine that with the team’s low number of total scoring attempts, the MLS newcomers have the second-best accurate shooting percentage (39.7%) in MLS. It will be important for Orlando to limit scoring opportunities for the Charlotte offense because the team is good at finishing its chances.
Charlotte has seen its share of struggles on the defensive end in its first season in MLS. The club has given up the sixth-most shots against (124) of any team this season, which is part of the reason it is tied for 10th in most goals conceded (40). Charlotte has struggled to disrupt opposing offenses, ranking 19th in interceptions (374). The team also has trouble getting the ball out of harm’s way, ranking 20th in clearances (430). Charlotte has also failed to win many one-on-one situations, sitting tied for 15th in successful pressure percentage (28.6%) and 25th in duel percentage (47.7%). The Charlotte defense has seen highs in some areas, however, as it ranks in the top half of MLS teams in blocks (348) and tackles (413), sitting 11th and 13th in these categories, respectively.
Players to Watch
Forward Karol Swiderski has been the offensive leader for Charlotte this season. Swiderski has shown his offensive skill set throughout the year, ranking first on the team in goals (8), total scoring attempts (56) and on-target scoring attempts (30). Swiderski is also second in accurate shooting percentage (53.6%) among players with at least 10 total scoring attempts. Forward Andre Shinyashiki has been a great midseason pickup for Charlotte after transferring in from Colorado. Shinyashiki is second on Charlotte in goals (5), tied for fourth in total scoring attempts (21), third in on-target scoring attempts (10), and fourth in accurate shooting percentage (47.6%) among players with at least 10 total scoring attempts. Midfielders Ben Bender and Jordy Alcívar have helped to create scoring opportunities for the attacking Charlotte players, as Bender leads the team in assists (6) and Alcívar is first in crosses (17).
Midfielder Brandt Bronico has been the leader of the Charlotte defense this year. Bronico is first on Charlotte in tackles (47), first in pressures (464), tied for second in blocks (38), third in interceptions (41), and fifth in clearances (33). Defender Guzman Corujo has also held strong on the Charlotte defensive end. Corujo has helped Charlotte escape trouble from opposing offenses when they are in scoring position, leading his team in clearances (112). He is also second in interceptions (44), second in tackles (44), tied for second in blocks (38), and fifth in pressures (248). Charlotte has relied on the goalkeeping abilities of Kristijan Kahlina this season. The Croation goalkeeper has conceded 38 goals and recorded 81 saves on 119 shots on target faced for a save percentage of 68.1%.
That’s what I found on Charlotte FC. Let me know what you think about the upcoming match in the comments and, as always, go Orlando!