11th-placed Charlotte FC will play host to D.C. United, who currently lie two spots ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings. The club from the nation’s capital occupies the final play-off spot for this year’s MLS Final Series. The North Carolina outfit, meanwhile, is three points behind them, but has played two fewer games. Both teams need a win in the critical Eastern Conference fixture, while a draw likely hurts everyone.
Charlotte FC Host Eastern Conference Play-Off Rival D.C. United
Both clubs come into the game in mixed form. D.C. United’s last three matches have consisted of a goalless draw against San Jose, a four-goal thrashing of Chicago at Audi Field, and a 3-1 loss to Philadelphia. They have not played an away fixture in nearly a month. Their hosts, Charlotte, are undefeated since August 11th. Nashville and Orlando City provided 1-1 draws before which LAFC was topped 2-1.
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D.C. United possess a strong back line that is capable of shutting down opposing strikers. Charlotte, meanwhile, plays most of their games with tight, low scorelines that favor a swift counter-attacking style of offense. This gives the defense little time to react to the rapidly developing play. Coupled together it should produce a tight affair that will be decided by a moment of sheer brilliance.
Players Who Will Decide the Match
Charlotte attacker Scott Arfield and Striker Christian Benteke of D.C. United could be the key player for their clubs in this match. Each has scored twice in the past three games. Benteke’s scored both in the route of Chicago, while Arfield’s were critical late-game goals that gave his team a win and a draw. They will have limited chances against skilled defenders, but the one that plays better will give their team an edge.
— Charlotte FC (@CharlotteFC) September 15, 2023
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On the opposite end of the field, Croatian goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina of Charlotte and his American counterpart, Alex Bono for D.C. United will play a major role. Neither one of them sees much action on a game-to-game basis. They can both rely on capable defenders to prevent opposing players from seeing their goal for most of the match, but a single error or slip-up will hand the game to their opponent.
Odds and Expectations
As stated before, expect this match to be close, and low-scoring. As it is a must-win game for both sides they will likely pull some tricks out of the bag near the end of the game. Currently, the odds for the fixture favor Charlotte. The game kicks off at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 PM EST & 4:30 PM PST.