Following what looked like an obvious Supporters Shield season going into the Leagues Cup, FCC has stumbled, going 2-2-2 in their six games since returning to MLS play, with another loss coming the U.S. Open Cup. FCC will look to stop that run when the team returns home to face off against Charlotte FC.
Not quite what we were expecting going into the Leagues Cup, unfortunately. That competition allowed a couple of teams to get hot and catapult themselves into the top of the standings or have time to bring in new players and get others healthy.
FCC has massively cooled from the start of the season where it looked like it might even set the MLS points record. But that won’t happen. Luckily, all of FCC’s closest opponents for the shield have really failed to capitalize much on the stumbles by Cincinnati, with FCC up nine points on its two closest competitors, Orlando City SC and St. Louis CITY SC, with St. Louis also having played one more game than FCC.
The biggest reason for this stumble is FCC’s inability to score goals. In those six games since returning to MLS, FCC has only scored more than two goals in a match once, the matchup against New York City FC, and has even two shutouts, most frustratingly against, of course, Columbus and Orlando.
However, Aaron Boupendza, the new FCC striker, has seemingly started to play a little bit better and I hope that sees the team’s offense get back on track. One or two more wins should see FCC clinch the Supporters Shield and FCC has some prime matchups for those.
The yellow cards and red cards have also accumulated for multiple important players that have seen the team miss players like Matt Miazga, Yerson Mosquera, Obinna Nwobodo and Lucho Acosta. If you had to list the most important players for FCC, these would be those players. That streak will continue in this match as Miazga misses due to yellow card accumulation. However, Mosquera will now return following a red card in the Philadelphia match. FCC has started to play like toddlers, getting easily frustrated, with players easily baited.
Charlotte FC is currently 12th on the Eastern Conference table, with a record of 7-12-9. Charlotte has scored 36 goals on the season and allowed 45, compared to FCC’s 47 and 33, respectively.
Charlotte’s goals allowed tally of 45 is tied for second in the Eastern Conference, only behind Atlanta United who has allowed 46. This, and the team’s next match against Toronto FC, should be a prime spot for FCC to get back on track in terms of goal-scoring.
However, the last time these two times played, it was eerily similar to what happened against Philadelphia a week ago, as a two-goal comeback in the second-half was required to steal a road point.
Another thing to watch is that, while Karol Swiderski is Charlotte’s leading scorer with eight goals on the season, he also loves to play against FCC. In the three matches that Swiderski has played against Cincinnati, he has scored a whopping four times, with two braces in both of FCC’s two road matches.
Whoscored.com said Charlotte’s strengths include creating chances through individual skill, defending set pieces and attacking down the wings.
The site also said their weaknesses include defending attacks down the wings, defending against through balls and protecting their lead.
Whoscored.com also said Charlotte’s style of play includes attacking down the right, often attempting crosses and playing aggressive defensively.