Charlotte FC vs. Orlando City SC Pick & Prediction MAR 18th 2023

Stadium: Orlando City Stadium Orlando
Logo Charlotte FC Charlotte FC
Logo Orlando City SC

2.5o -112



Charlotte FC have looked vulnerable in early matches this season and so there might be another chance for Orlando City to make the best of the situation and start cranking out more offense.

The teams have created different identities so far and they meet Saturday night in Orlando, Fla.

Orlando (1-0-2, 5 points) is undefeated through three MLS games for only the third time in club history, also holding that distinction in 2016 and 2021. The team has mostly relied on stingy defense.

Charlotte (0-3-0, 0 points) needs a good result to wipe away the sting of a ragged opening month of the season, with defensive breakdowns proving costly.

"We need to have belief," Charlotte FC coach Christian Lattanzio said.

Orlando is aiming for three consecutive home shutouts for the first time in its MLS history.

Orlando City had a diversion from the MLS this week with Wednesday's Champions League draw with Tigres UANL, causing elimination in the round of 16.

"We have used a lot of players in the last few games, too, trying to accommodate the loads in training and obviously just try to keep the team the best possible," Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja said.

Now it's back to concentrating on MLS matters for Orlando City.

There shouldn't be panic brewing for Charlotte FC, its coach said. Last year, the team lost its first three games and then responded by winning three of the next four.

"There is some good work from the boys that goes on from the daily basis," Lattanzio said.

The ball has ended up in the Charlotte FC net too frequently.

"It's a game of mistakes as well," Lattanzio said. "Unfortunately, when you make certain mistakes, you pay that price. ... I still believe we have to play aggressively. We have to play with an attacking mind. We have to refine how we deal with counterattack."

Lattanzio said the system in use isn't too complex, though he bears the responsibility of making it work. There have been players placed in interchangeable positions, though that hasn't necessarily been the reason for the team allowing three goals in each of the past two games.

"I think they can play in those positions," Lattanzio said. "There are certain differences, of course. I think at certain moments we made mistakes."

Charlotte FC will have to be aware of rookie forward Duncan McGuire, who scored in his MLS debut last week against D.C. United. McGuire was the NCAA goals leader last year for Creighton, posting a school-record 23 goals.

Orlando City defeated Charlotte FC twice last season, both by 2-1 scores.

--Field Level Media

Charlotte FC Charlotte FC vs. Orlando City SC Recap MAR 18TH 2023

Enzo Copetti and Kerwin Vargas scored in the first half and Charlotte FC won for the first time this season with Saturday night's 2-1 victory at Orlando City.

George Marks made six saves in the victory. He drew a yellow card in the 69th minute but regained his composure.

For the second year in a row, Charlotte FC (1-3-0, 3 points) won in their fourth game of the season after losing their first three.

Martin Ojeda scored for Orlando City (1-1-2, 5 points) in the 57th minute.

Copetti posted his goal in the 26th minute, collecting a through ball from Jaylin Lindsey. It marked the first time this season that Charlotte FC led in a game.

The transition goal seemed to catch Orlando City off guard and largely out of position, pretty much resulting in a breakaway opportunity.

It also meant that Orlando City wouldn't be picking up a third consecutive home shutout, which would have been a franchise record. Pedro Gallese finished with two saves.

Then about nine minutes later, the team had a 2-0 advantage. Vargas scored by placing the ball on the left side of the net off an assist from Harrison Afful.

Ojeda's goal gave a boost to Orlando City. It was assisted by rookie Duncan McGuire, who was a threat throughout the game at the offensive end.

Orlando City was playing their second game in four nights and it showed. The team had a draw with Tigres UANL in Wednesday's Champions League elimination match.

--Field Level Media
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