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Draw and both sides to score
This historic first-ever clash between Charlotte and Cincinnati is bound to be a close contest. Both sides have not made a good start to the season, and there are no clear favorites going into the game.
The home side picked up their first ever win in MLS last weekend and will be keen on getting another one under their belts. Cincinnati started off with two losses but managed to bounce back with two wins after that. They are yet to hit top gear but will be confident of putting on a solid display this weekend.
Both sides are not great at defending and are yet to keep a clean sheet this season. Their offense has not been great either, and so we think that this game begins on level footing on Saturday.
The home side defeated the New England Revolution last weekend and are looking to build on it. The away side have two wins in their last two games and will be looking to make it a hat-trick.
What we think is that this is going to be something of a clash of equals, two teams that are not perfect, and whose flaws will play into each others’ hands. A scored draw is likely.
Charlotte’s start to the season hasn’t gone as expected. The MLS newcomers were bound to find it hard in the first few games, with the players all trying to get on the same page, building from scratch while others built on years of legacy.
They were thrashed on the opening weekend by DC United as a rude welcome gift. Charlotte were able to dominate possession and get more shots on target, but were not clinical enough to get on the scoresheet.
In their first home game, they welcomed the LA Galaxy and made a bright start. However, the experience of the away side kept Miguel Angel Ramirez’s men pinned back in their own half for the majority of the game, which they then lost 1-0, although that scoreline belied the absolute domination of Galaxy for the rest of the game. Charlotte managed just 5 shots at goal in the game, while their opponents had 21 attempts.
It was the same story once again when they visited Atlanta United, but they managed to do better on counter-attacks this time round. Adam Armour scored the club’s first ever MLS goal to equalize for the away side after Josef Martínez scored on the hour mark.
Ramirez’s men were solid in defense and able to keep Atalanta United from making too many forays into their penalty box. And it all seemed to be going to plan too – they were on track to get a well-earned point before Jake Mulraney popped up in the box and scored in the 96th minute of the game, sealing a win and three points for the home side.
All Charlotte needed was to be clinical in front of goal, and that finally happened in their home game against the Revs last week when Karol Świderski opened the scoring as early as 6 minutes into the game. He got on the scoresheet again in the second – just three minutes after Carles Gil leveled things up for the Revs. Benjamin Bender sealed the three points after the hour mark and got Charlotte going in the points section.
Charlotte’s biggest positive from the game was the fact that they had 15 attempts at goal and got 5 of them on target, even as the Revs dominated in offense at the other end with 18 attempts and 5 on target. Keeping up that pressure on the Revs’ defense paid off for them in their own defensive efforts.
Cincinnati started the season in pretty poor fashion. To say the least.
They were thrashed 5-0 by Austin FC on the opening weekend, which left them rock bottom on the table with some serious climbing to do. They managed to get just two shots on goal in that game, and coach Pat Noonan was sent to the drawing board as nothing went right for his men.
The switch from a 4-3-1-2 to a 3-4-1-2 worked well for Cincinnati as they controlled their game at home against DC United. Although it didn’t quite come off in terms of a result. While they managed to dominate midfield, Noonan’s men could not get a point from the match as Ola Kamara scored from the spot in the 98th minute to fetch all three points for DC.
Despite the loss, Noonan stuck with his new formation, and they finally got their first win of the season. Playing at Orlando City SC, Brandon Vazquez scored early in the first half to hand Cincinnati the lead. They made the mistake of sitting back after taking the lead and paid the price right before halftime. Júnior Urso equalized for the home side and tilted the momentum in their favor.
Lucikly for Noonan, Vazquez scored early in the second half as well to hand them the lead. They sat back once again, but this time managed to hold on and get the three points.
Cincinnati side are getting better with the 3-4-1-2 formation every game, and Noonan went into the Inter Miami game with the same formation. While they sat back against Orland, they took the game to Miami at the TQL Stadium. This time, there were no hiccups, as they pulled off a comfortable 3-1 win, with Inter’s only goal coming via a Gonzalo Higuaín penalty.
|Charlotte FC vs FC Cincinnati Information|
|Teams||Charlotte FC vs FC Cincinnati|
|Location||Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Time||Saturday, March 26 at 5pm EST|
|How to watch||UniMás, TUDN, WAXN/WSOC, STAR 64|
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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