Charlotte FC has had many “arrival moments” during its first MLS season, but The Crown may have just had its most seminal moment.
After the first goal, first victory and long-awaited first road victory were in the books, the club needed one more achievement to boast.
Its first blowout victory.
A close match for much of the night turned into an all-out laugher against a team firmly in the playoff chase, as Charlotte FC ran away from Nashville SC, 4-1, Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium.
Charlotte FC showed a national TV audience why the 36,244 people in the building were taking part of the biggest recurring summer party that has taken over the Queen City.
After an early penalty gave The Crown a 1-0 lead, it was Karol Swiderski ending an 11-match goal drought by whipping in a header off Yordy Reyna’s cross. The Polish designated player entered the stands immediately following his triumph, celebrating with the Royal Family supporter’s section who lauded him praise.
Head Coach Christian Lattanzio, now 3-2-1 as the interim man in charge of the team, believed his team controlled the evening.
“I thought it was a complete performance from our boys,” Lattanzio said. “The boys adapt so well quickly to the different tactical changes, we had to counteract every time. If they get the best of you, they have so many good players, they can hurt you. But I think our boys went toe to toe with them, which is, in my opinion, one of the best teams in the league.”
While Nashville pulled a goal back with a penalty of their own, Charlotte FC booted in an insurance marker from its first-ever signing, Sergio Ruiz. Andre Shinyashiki provided the capper two minutes later to seal the deal.
“I feel really, really, good. One thing that is very important in a team is to have many players that can score and make assists,” Lattanzio said. “We had four different goal scorers, four players making assists, and this is so important because it means the team is rich. We have from this point of view a very rich team.”
Charlotte FC concluded the weekend in sixth place in the MLS Eastern Conference table (top seven make the MLS playoffs), and while the teams around them have games in hand, the side has gone a long way to prove they aren’t the also ran which many MLS pundits predicted they’d be.
With 14 matches remaining, Charlotte FC has as many road matches as home matches to play. It will not only be imperative to hold serve at home, but also build upon the road form they started last week in Houston.
If they can do those things, the next arrival moment will come in mid-October.
The Crown’s first MLS playoff berth.