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NYCFC vs Charlotte FC – Preview and 4 Questions

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3/18/2023 James Sands Sliding To Block A Pass Against DC United. Credit: Ernesto Diaz/Stream Punk Entertainment
3/18/2023 James Sands Sliding To Block A Pass Against DC United. Credit: Ernesto Diaz/Stream Punk Entertainment

The New York City Football Club continues it’s 4 game road trip with leg #2 this weekend down in North Carolina to take on Charlotte FC. Charlotte is a squad that had what would normally be viewed as a solid expansion season last year pulling off 42 points and settling in 9th place. However this year their start has been a bit of a slower start, currently sitting second to last with just 9 points in their first 10 matches (by comparison they had 13 points at this time last year).

The sluggish start however has done nothing to slow fan enthusiasm at Bank of America Stadium however, as The Crown is second in MLS this year, averaging 39,000 fans a game, up from 35,000 last year.

Charlotte’s home opener beat the NFL attendance of 9 of the 16 teams week 1 home openers last year. That’s staggering.

This has me thinking a bit about Defender Mitja Ilenic, who admitted to being used to playing in front of at most 6,500 fans before coming here and being blow away playing in front of 20,000. You can check it out here, it needs more views anyway:

As always, I’ve got questions to ask with stats to aim to keep it interesting:


1) Can NYCFC win on the road? This of course is one of the biggest concerns right now nearly 1/3 of the way into the season after the 1-0 loss north of the border in Toronto over the weekend with scoring being the chief concern. In their 5 matches on the road this season it’s literally been: Shutout, 1 goal, Shutout, 1 goal, Shutout. The pattern would dictate 1 goal this weekend, but the team needs a performance of 3 goals or more to shake the feeling they can’t score on the road. This is plausible, as Charlotte has a league worst 19 goals given up this season, including 7 at home.

2) Can Talles Magno shake off the nay-sayers? Fans of the club are starting to lose patience with the Brazilian forward as some on Twitter and the subreddit are calling for a benching. I feel that’s a bit extreme at this point, as he is tied with Santi Rodriguez with 3 goals on the season however he does look uncomfortable at times. Playing On The Couch Coach for a minute I get the sense he’s stronger when he doesn’t have to be the single man up front. 8 of his 10 assists & 5 of his 7 goals last season came when Taty was alongside him (yes that’s Taty being Taty but stick with me a minute). I feel the club is moving back in that direction with him on wing and working with either Santi or Gabe Segal up front and using these games to build that symmetry. Wins now are important, but sports are a long game.

3) Will the Yellow Cards Continue? NYCFC currently sits tied for 3rd in the league with Yellow Cards at 25 behind Dallas and NYRB at 27. This may become a factor later in the season as accumulation begins to play a factor. Head Coach Nick Cushing will say it’s true to form to playing aggressively which is true, but something to keep an eye on. If you’re wondering, right now Matias Pellegrini, Ilenic and Santi Rodriguez top the club with 5, 4, & 3 yellow cards respectively.

4) Will Luis Barraza concede just one goal again? I just find this interesting but Player of the Month Luis Barraza has allowed just one goal in each of the past 6 matches. Let’s see if it goes to 7 in a row.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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