Hudson River Blue spoke with Daniel Bramlette of Charlotte Soccer Show, the podcast and Twitter account that tells the story of Charlotte FC “one pint at a time,” to learn more about the team that New York City FC face tomorrow — and have never beaten: Here is your NYCFC vs Charlotte preview.
1. Restless fans
Hudson River Blue: Charlotte FC got off a roaring start last year – good crowds, good crest – but fell short of making the playoffs. This year, a stronger team are running hot and cold: They beat the LA Galaxy in sunny California, then went on a five-game winless streak that saw them take only three points out of a possible 15. (I know, glass houses.) What’s the mood in the stands at Bank of America Stadium these days?
Daniel Bramlette: Mood in the stands is a little restless. I personally am still having a great time every week with my supporters end season tix and turn every home matchday into the event of the weekend, but it’s obviously reached the stage of the franchise where the crowds are a little thinner in the stadium from the first three to six months last year. One thing the club focuses a lot on is turning each game into a party at the stadium regardless of match results, and that has worked up til now, but without more wins will not work for a whole lot longer.
2. Ones to watch: Enzo Copetti, Kamil Jóźwiak, Karol Świderski, Kerwin Vargas, Ashley Westwood
HRB: Striker Karol Świderski is always dangerous, and NYCFC fans know all too well that Enzo Copetti can find the back of the net. Which other players should we watch out for this Wednesday?
DB: Our captain Ashley Westwood has started to come into his own as a contributor on the pitch. He’s set a tone for the squad with his professionalism and Premier League experience, and his balls over the top to Świderski are pure poetry. He will make an impact on Wednesday for sure.
Our young winger Kerwin Vargas is also an “all gas, no brakes” type who will always either take on his opponent with a dribble or cross into the box 90% of his touches. He hates a backpass.
Kamil Jóźwiak is our third Designated Player. He had a rough adjustment to the league last year but was our most impactful offensive player in the first six weeks of this year before he got hurt. Should be finally back starting on Wednesday.
3. About those three wins out of three games…
Kamil Jozwiak is our third Designated Player who had a rough adjustment to the league last year but was our most impactful offensive player the first six weeks of this year before he got hurt. He should be finally back starting on Wednesday.
HRB: The head-to-head between these two clubs is short and sweet, at least if you’re in North Carolina: Charlotte have roundly beaten New York City three times out of three total matches. Are NYCFC your favorite punching bag?
DB: We can’t realistically consider anyone a “punching bag” with our own status in the league, but we’re always grateful to see the Pigeons on the schedule.
4. The X-Factor: New signing Scott Arfield
HRB: What’s the X-factor that could decide this game?
DB: The X-Factor for me is our new signing Scotty Arfield who should be available for the first time in this match. Look for him to make an impact off the bench if so.
5. Charlotte Starting XI
HRB: Prediction time: Starting XI? Final score?
DB: Starting XI in a 1-2 CLT win (could also be Derrick Jones in Bill Tuiloma’s spot and Brandt Bronico in defensive midfield):