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Charlotte FC vs New England Revolution 3/19

Source: Kiara Jacobs / Radio One Charlotte OE

Saturday night produced one of the best sports environments in the city of Charlotte, as Charlotte FC began their second season on the MLS pitch in front of 69,435 fans in Bank of America Stadium. While the result wasn’t what the majority of those in attendance were hoping for, the near-capacity crowd and rave reviews from those who were there show that Charlotte FC will once again be making big waves with Charlotte sports fans in 2023.

The second-year squad will also be looking to make a splash in the MLS this season after finishing one spot out of the playoffs in 2022. Technical director of Charlotte FC, Bobby Belair sat down with our own Chris McClain on Monday and discussed how an improved attack will help them do that. “I’m very confident the attack will be better than last year. Some of the attacking principles that Christian Lattanzio is putting in place is set up by what we do defensively.” Charlotte FC had some nice opportunities on Saturday night of the way they played defensively, but this is still an offensive attack that is a work in progress. “There were a few moments that had the fans oohing and aahing when we were breaking on the counterattack. We created chances and we’ll create more than that so we’re not worried about the attack.”

One of the main reasons that there isn’t much concern about the attack is because of the offseason acquisition of Enzo Copetti. Some were questioning the performance of the Argentinian striker after the game, but Belair says things will take time to come together. “You could see the desire that he wants to put on show for the fans and become the new face of this team, but that going to take time. He’s coming to a new country, he’s playing with new teammates who he’s only played in a few preseason matches with. I think what you saw is a lot of effort, a lot of commitment and that’s what we wanted in a striker.”

As encouraged as he is on the field, Belair continues to be impressed by the support that the team has received. “The fan support that we get is unmatched and it surprises us every time whether we’re selling out the whole stadium or not,” he said. “I know the boys and the team are disappointed that they didn’t get a better result but it was a great tribute to Anton Walkes and there was a lot of pressure for the team to get off to a good start.” Charlotte FC fell short to the New England Revolution in their opener on Saturday night, though, thanks to an 89′ goal by way of Henry Kessler. The team will now travel to St. Louis to help the league’s newest expansion team open its new stadium. The game will air on WFNZ on Saturday night starting at 8:00 PM with the Charlotte FC pregame show with Will Palaszczuk and Jessica Charman.

Belair also talked about the team’s new MLS Pro squad, Crown Legacy FC, a squad that the team has already made some big splashes. “We’re being super aggressive. From day one this has been our approach and we’ve gotten to a point where Crown Legacy FC can be competing this year.”

Belair said there is a clear and important goal for this squad, which will serve as a bridge between the top team and the academy team. “We’re planning for holes with the roster for this first team and letting these players come, learn our system, adapt to the United States in some cases if they are international, learn how we want to play and then whenever they are ready for the first team, they’ll be able to step in and compete right away.”

Crown Legacy FC will kick their season off at their home stadium inside of the Matthews Sportsplex on Sunday, March 26th at 3:00 PM against Huntsville City FC. “We hope some of our supporters will come out and make it loud, make it a good atmosphere. We’re really looking forward to creating a great atmosphere over there in Matthews.”

For Belair’s full comments, check out the interview below.

Bobby Belair Joins WFNZ to Talk Year 2 of Charlotte FC, Inaugural Crown Legacy Season  was originally published on wfnz.com