Charlotte FC comes up short in record-breaking home debut

Charlotte FC welcomed an MLS record 74,749 fans to Bank Of America Stadium where they took on five-time champions LA Galaxy in their inaugural home match. A massive crowd for the expansion team, but in the end, they came up short losing the match 1-0.

Despite the final score, this was a remarkable feat for the Charlotte FC organization and the fan base. They have neither won a single game nor have they scored a single goal, but still, 74,749 fans packed into a stadium to cheer them on. The energy was there, the passion was there, and the city of Charlotte proved they have a great market for soccer.

Unfortunately for Charlotte FC fans, the on-field product didn’t match the energy and fervor in the stands. It was an onslaught from the Galaxy most of the game. They finished with a total of 21 shots although just 6 of them were on target. 16 of their shots came in the first half. Charlotte did find quality chances throughout the game but in too few numbers.

A massive game from Charlotte FCs goalie Kristijan Kahlina was the main reason Charlotte survived as long as they did. He finished with 5 saves and 91% passing and was named the player of the game for Charlotte.

Charlotte FC comes up short against the Galaxy

Charlotte FC began a little shaky and disorderly, similar to their opening game against DC United. Manager Miguel Ángel Ramírez changed the lineup slightly from their first game to a 5-man defense with Corujo, Makoun, and Fuchs in the center of the backline and Lindsay and Mora as the outside wings backs. But early on, the Charlotte midfield was continuously overrun by the Galaxy.

The 5-man defensive line played deep and disciplined but this left too much space in Charlotte’s half for Bronico and Franco to cover. The Galaxy midfield constantly found areas to exploit and cause damage. Midway through the first half, Ramírez made the switch to a 433 to add more defensive help to the midfield. This change slowed down the Galaxy for a while, until Head Coach Greg Vanney subbed on in the 70th minute, 19-year-old Efrain Alvarez.

7 minutes after walking on the field Alvarez received the ball in the midfield, rapidly moved the ball forward, and just outside the box right before he’s closed down by Bronico and Corujo, he let off a world-class rocket of a shot that just made it over Kahlina and found the net.

That goal would be the decider in a 1 goal defeat for Charlotte. Spoiling the home opener for the 75,000 in attendance who came to see their new team. In the end, a world-class finish was the only thing that was able to separate the 2 teams on the scoreboard. Charlotte FC fought hard but couldn’t hold back the five-time champions.

Despite the disappointing finish, It was an exciting and historic day for Charlotte FC and their fans. After the final whistle, the 75,000 fans in Bank Of America Stadium stood up and applauded their team for the effort, even though they fell short of the goal.

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This young expansion team will continue growing and learning together as they move through their inaugural season. They will look to grab their first win on Sunday when they take on Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.