Preview: Nashville SC at Charlotte FC

After a short stop over at GEODIS and a 2-1 win against Inter Miami, the Coyotes are back on the road. Tonight, they take on a Charlotte FC team that has started to heat up. In their only prior meeting, Charlotte hammered Nashville 4-1, the first time ever conceding more than three goals under Gary Smith and their worst loss in club history. Can the ‘Yotes get revenge tonight?

Charlotte FC

7th (East) | 18 points | 5-3-5 | -5 GD |
Power Rankings: 26
4th (Southern Championship Belt) | 3 points | 1-0-2 | -4 GD

Injuries / Absences:

Out: George Marks (left lower leg), Kampala Kpzwiak (right knee), MacKenzie Gaines (left knee), Ben Bender (lower left leg)
Questionable: Kerwin Vargas (lower left leg), Guzman Corujo (right knee surgery)

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The beginning of Charlotte’s expansion season was full of turmoil but after a coaching change they finished a respectable ninth when most predicted a Wooden Spoon.

This season started a bit rough for Charlotte, losing their first three of the season. Since then, Charlotte have begun to string together a series of results, including three league wins in a row.

Christian Lattanzio was given the interim manager title after Miguel Ángel Ramírez was let go. That Interim tag was removed at the end of last season, giving the job full time to Lattanzio.

Lattanzio is a disciple of the City Football Group style of play. Charlotte will look to control possession in the middle and play through their the wide forwards.

Last season, Karol Świderski played more as the central striker, and in the lone match against the Boys in Gold he absolutely terrorized the Nashville defense. This season he has played more of a wide forward role with new DP, Enzo Copetti, as the central striker.

Copetti is a physical forward who is an absolute menace on both sides of the ball. He will look to use his physicality to win balls in the air and play them off to Świderski or Justin Meram and when Charlotte loses the ball, will lead the press. He doesn’t score a ton of goals but will definitely cause problems for the Nashville centerbacks.

In the midfield, Ashley Westwood will sit as the holding midfielder and look to break up play and recycle possession when needed. In front of him former Nashville player, Derrick Jones, will play as an eight along with Brandt Bronico.

If Charlotte can control the midfield and cut out the Nashville counter attacks, they should be able to get a result against the ‘Yotes.

Nashville SC

3rd (East) | 22 points | 6-4-3 | +9 GD |
Power Rankings: 3
2nd (Southern Championship Belt) | 4 points | 1-1-0 | +2 GD

Injuries / Absences:

Out: Nick DePuy (season-ending injury list)
Questionable: Walker Zimmerman (lower body)

After an impressive performance against Inter Miami, Nashville find themselves on a seven match unbeaten run. However, they arent getting too ahead of themselves because there is still everything to play for.

Tonight, they travel to Charlotte for just the second meeting between these two clubs. The will look to avenge their 2-0 loss their last season where they put in their worst performance of the season.

The games are coming thick and fast for the ‘Yotes as they follow up tonight’s match with a US Open Cup match against Inter Miami on Tuesday evening. We saw Gary Smith make a few changes against Miami last weekend for the sake of rotation, and I expect to see a bit more of that tonight.

Smith said before the Miami game that Walker Zimmerman was getting back to fitness and there were no long term concerns, but he failed to even make the bench. Afterwards, Smith admitted that Zimmerman’s recovery is moving more slowly than expected, and it sounds like they’ll take their time getting him back without rushing him.

Luckily, Lukas MacNaughton has come in to side and performed really well, firmly looking like he belongs in the starting lineup. This will allow Nashville to get Zimmerman a bit more time to get fit but is till worrying.

Dax McCarty was one of those players that was given some much needed rest against Miami. As a part of that, we saw Aníbal Godoy play as the base of the diamond rather than his normal side. He looked really good and provide a different dimension to what McCarty does. However, Godoy will more than likely be rested for tonight’s match and McCarty will slot back in at the base.

When talking rotation, it;s hard to ignore the attacking end of the pitch. Hany Mukhtar has been in incredible form but will need a break at some point. But with Randall Leal still finding his fitness after a lengthy spell out (he started for Huntsville City last night), there isn’t a logical option. Mukhtar should get some rest in the Open Cup but if the attacking options off the bench are slim.

Pod Picks

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 1-2 Charlotte
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Swiderski brace via a penalty and shot outside of the box.

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 1-1 Charlotte
Scorers: Jacob Shaffelburg
MOTM: Jacob Shaffelburg
Bold Prediction: Nashville scores late on the counter

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 1-1 Charlotte
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Both goals come in the first half.

Valair Shabilla

Score: Nashville 2-2 Charlotte
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Fafa Picault
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville goes down 2-nil

Fan Forecast

Match info

Teams: Charlotte FC v. Nashville SC
Odds: CLT (+145), Draw (+225), NSH (+175) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, May 20
Time: 6:30 pm CDT, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: Apple TV
Radio: 104.5 The Zone (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 83°/63°. Partly Cloudy. 20% chance of rain. 60% humidity

Author: Jonathan Slapeoriginated from outside of Atlanta but has lived in Nashville since 2005. Original member of Speedway Soccer and has been talking and occasionally writing about Nashville SC since the USL days. Self proclaimed official fashion correspondent. Outside of Nashville SC you can find him singing the praises of Jurgen Klopp, discussing the latest in sneakers and soccer fashion with a good stiff drink.

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