Charlotte FC have looked vulnerable in early matches this season and so there might be another chance for Orlando City to make the best of the situation and start cranking out more offense.
The teams have created different identities so far and they meet Saturday night in Orlando, Fla.
Orlando (1-0-2, 5 points) is undefeated through three MLS games for only the third time in club history, also holding that distinction in 2016 and 2021. The team has mostly relied on stingy defense.
Charlotte (0-3-0, 0 points) needs a good result to wipe away the sting of a ragged opening month of the season, with defensive breakdowns proving costly.
“We need to have belief,” Charlotte FC coach Christian Lattanzio said.
Orlando is aiming for three consecutive home shutouts for the first time in its MLS history.
Orlando City had a diversion from the MLS this week with Wednesday’s Champions League draw with Tigres UANL, causing elimination in the round of 16.
“We have used a lot of players in the last few games, too, trying to accommodate the loads in training and obviously just try to keep the team the best possible,” Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja said.
Now it’s back to concentrating on MLS matters for Orlando City.
There shouldn’t be panic brewing for Charlotte FC, its coach said. Last year, the team lost its first three games and then responded by winning three of the next four.
“There is some good work from the boys that goes on from the daily basis,” Lattanzio said.
The ball has ended up in the Charlotte FC net too frequently.
“It’s a game of mistakes as well,” Lattanzio said. “Unfortunately, when you make certain mistakes, you pay that price. … I still believe we have to play aggressively. We have to play with an attacking mind. We have to refine how we deal with counterattack.”
Lattanzio said the system in use isn’t too complex, though he bears the responsibility of making it work. There have been players placed in interchangeable positions, though that hasn’t necessarily been the reason for the team allowing three goals in each of the past two games.
“I think they can play in those positions,” Lattanzio said. “There are certain differences, of course. I think at certain moments we made mistakes.”
Charlotte FC will have to be aware of rookie forward Duncan McGuire, who scored in his MLS debut last week against D.C. United. McGuire was the NCAA goals leader last year for Creighton, posting a school-record 23 goals.
Orlando City defeated Charlotte FC twice last season, both by 2-1 scores.
–Field Level Media