Charlotte FC toppled by CF Montréal 2-0 at home. Here’s what we learned

·3 min read
Courtesy of Charlotte FC

Charlotte FC’s four-match streak of wins at home was halted Saturday at Bank of America Stadium by Eastern Conference opponent CF Montréal.

The Canadian club, which hasn’t lost its past eight games, bested the Major League Soccer expansion team 2-0 in front of an announced crowd of 33,323 fans.

“I believe we could control them in many moments,” Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Ángel Ramírez said. “But when you have clear chances against these teams and you don’t score, they will punish you.”

Here’s what we learned during the match.

Goals conceded

Montréal midfielder Djordje Mihailovic was the first punisher. Mihailovic leads his team in goals and opened the scoring before the half, assisted by teammate Romell Quioto, who was subbed out after being flanked by two Charlotte FC defenders.

Charlotte was down a starting defender, with captain Christian Fuchs out due to a right thigh injury. Center back Guzmán Corujo was honored with the captain designation on Saturday, and produced key tackles, winning the ball back in dicey moments. But towards the end of the first half, Montréal capitalized against Charlotte’s defense as fatigue likely set in.

Quioto fed the ball to Mihailovic collapsing up the middle, and he tapped it in past Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina. A second goal came in the 67th minute by Alistair Johnston, who fired a clean shot at an angle from the edge of the right side of the box to the lower left corner.

Montréal’s attack was more effective at breaking through Charlotte’s defensive four-man backline, but Charlotte midfielder Brandt Bronico noted that the team’s performance wasn’t far from Montréal’s.

Charlotte FC had a higher possession percentage (55.5%) than Montréal (44.5%) and took more shots (15 compared to 13), but the younger team wasn’t as clinical in the final third, as Bronico described it.

“We could have beaten Montréal today and the differences were that they finished their chances and we didn’t,” he said.

Missed chances

An early first half in which both teams emphasized possession gave way to scoring chances before the break, with Charlotte FC firing two shots that didn’t amount to goals.

Charlotte striker Andre Shinyashiki, who scored for the club last week at home, took a shot that bounced off the post, and minutes later, Karol Świderski followed up with a ball up the middle from outside the box that was stopped by Montréal goalkeeper Sebastian Breza. Alan Franco followed up with a ball that went high.

Other close calls followed in the second half. Ben Bender tried a sharp angle on a ball in the 71st minute to the right side of the net, but defender Samual Piette cut it off before it scored. Daniel Ríos tried two missed headers.

“(Montréal) made the difference in individual duels, the chances,” Ramírez said, noting the high level of play of former Tottenham midfielder Victor Wanyama for Montréal. “They are very, very dangerous. They are a top team. They are a candidate to win MLS this year.”

The corners attempted by Charlotte FC were also largely ineffective, and combined with missed shots, led to an underwhelming result for the team still in its early stages going up against one on a roll. Ramírez evaluated the team’s performance so far this season as “more than decent.”

Charlotte FC is 4-7-1 in the first 12 matches of its inaugural season, with a chance for an improved result at home Sunday at 5 p.m. against Vancouver.

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