Dean Smith Remains Optimistic Following Back-To-Back Bouts against MLS Elite

Charlotte FC to Play FC Dallas and Necaxa in Leagues Cup 2023  

April 1, 2024 – Major League Soccer (MLS)
Charlotte FC News Release

Charlotte FC engaged in a fierce contest against the 2023 Supporter’s Shield victors and arguably the current best team in MLS, FC Cincinnati, in their 1-1 deadlock at Bank of America Stadium. They not only went toe-to-toe with them but outplayed their opponents for most of the game despite starting with no designated players.

Charlotte held Cincinnati at bay until the 92nd minute when FCC demonstrated why they remain undefeated after six matches. They persisted into extra time and eventually netted a well-worked goal.

Understandably, Charlotte felt disheartened at being so close to securing all three points against one of the league’s top teams. However, Head Coach Dean Smith provided solace to his players, offering a broader perspective on what was ultimately an impressive performance.

“I just spoke to the players because they are a little bit too down,” started Smith. “Yeah, we’re a bit disappointed for conceding a late goal but these are the Supporter’s Shield winners last season, they’re unbeaten this season, and they’re the best defense in the league and we created a lot of opportunities…

“I also felt we defended in our box really well. If you put those two items together for the majority of the season, sometimes you suffer that in a game… but more often than not you’re going to take your chances and win four or five nil.”

Charlotte themselves are proving to be formidable opponents for any team regardless of standing. Not only have they demonstrated defensive prowess, but they’ve also shown an ability to create scoring opportunities even against staunch defenses like Cincinnati’s.

While the scoring opportunities have been plentiful for Charlotte, the team has struggled to capitalize on them this season.

“I’d be a lot more worried if weren’t getting chances,” analyzed Smith. “When teams aren’t getting chances then you know you got problems. We don’t have problems because we have people who are willing to run and get into areas where you are going to get opportunities.

“Our job now is to make them better finishers and be good in those moments because there were some really good moments where we just didn’t capitalize on.”

Someone who is likely to bolster this aspect is the new designated player, Liel Abada, who made his MLS debut against Cincinnati. He immediately showed fans what he could do when he went on a solo run, showcasing his blistering pace and ability to take players on…

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