Major League Soccer

Charlotte FC vs. Toronto

ODDS: 1.5 Starts 5/10 at 13:00 (GMT+2)

Charlotte FC vs. Toronto

Major League Soccer starts at 13:30 (GMT+2)

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Charlotte FC is aiming to break their winless streak and re-enter the MLS playoff race when they host Toronto at the Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday.

The Crown suffered a 2-1 defeat to the New England Revolution over the weekend, extending their winless run in domestic matches to six games. During the past month, Charlotte has struggled to maintain their position in the Eastern Conference playoff race, falling four points behind a postseason spot with just four matches remaining. Their sophomore campaign has been marked by missed opportunities, as they’ve lost three times in 2023 when scoring first and have managed only seven draws when leading in the second half, resulting in a total of 23 points dropped.

Most of Charlotte’s domestic goals conceded, nine out of ten, have occurred in the second half of matches. Moreover, they’ve allowed winning or equalizing goals in the last five minutes or less in four of their previous six MLS encounters.

It has been over four months since Charlotte FC secured a victory against an Eastern Conference opponent in an MLS match, with their last such win being a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire. They are also winless in their last six home matches against teams in their own conference.

In their three previous home matches against Canadian opponents, Charlotte has suffered two defeats, with their only victory coming last season, a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Coach Christian Lattanzio prefers to utilize his wingers to occupy opposing full-backs and create overloads, but these wide players have often struggled to defend when out of possession. This defensive vulnerability has contributed to Charlotte conceding the second-most goals in the MLS Eastern Conference this year (50).

Toronto, on the other hand, faced a lack of energy in the second half against FC Cincinnati, resulting in a narrow defeat, their eighth single-goal loss of the season. The Reds’ defense has been porous, conceding three or more goals in their last three matches, and they are aware of the need for improvement under new boss John Herdman, who is watching from afar.

Interim manager Terry Dunfield’s side has found the back of the net in only four of their last 13 matches in all competitions, scoring multiple goals on just two occasions.

With only three matches left in the regular season, Toronto’s role is reduced to that of spoilers, as they were eliminated from playoff contention a couple of weeks ago. They are already guaranteed to finish last in the Eastern Conference, regardless of their performance in the remaining matches. Toronto is the only MLS team this season without a road victory, conceding three or more goals in six away matches.

In their previous encounters, Toronto has never lost to Charlotte, winning their only previous visit to Bank of America Stadium in August 2022 with a score of 2-0. Charlotte might be missing Ben Bender due to a left knee sprain, and Vinicius Mello is unlikely to feature due to a previous right lower leg injury.

In a recent match, Karol Swiderski scored for the second time in his last three games, but the victory was short-lived as Kristijan Kahlina conceded the winner to the New England Revolution’s David Romney a minute later. Kahlina has allowed seven goals in his last three matches.

Historically, Charlotte has only managed to score in one encounter against Toronto, which happened earlier this season when Kamil Jozwiak scored a goal and an assist, with Ben Bender also finding the back of the net in a 2-2 draw.

Several Toronto players were unavailable in the previous encounter due to lower body issues, including Brandon Servania, Lorenzo Insigne, and Adama Diomande. Greg Ranjitsingh is recovering from knee surgery, Sean Johnson from hand surgery, and Raoul Petretta is suffering from back spasms.

Jonathan Osorio was the standout performer for TFC against Cincinnati, scoring a brace in just five minutes, bringing his domestic goal tally for 2023 to four, tying him for third on the team alongside Insigne. Luka Gavran made his second MLS appearance as the goalkeeper, allowing three goals for the second time.

Federico Bernardeschi, who is tied with Deandre Kerr for the team lead in domestic goals this year with five, opened the scoring in their previous encounter against Charlotte, and Michael Bradley also found the net, marking his third career goal for Toronto against Charlotte.

Charlotte FC Possible Starting Lineup:

Goalkeeper: Kahlina

Defenders: Byrne, Tuiloma, Malanda, Lindsey

Midfielders: Jozwiak, Westwood, Vargas

Forwards: Swiderski, Copetti, Meram

Toronto Possible Starting Lineup:

Goalkeeper: Gavran

Defenders: Rosted, O’Neill, Mabika, Gutierrez

Midfielders: Vazquez, Bradley, Osorio, Kerr, Blessing

Forward: Bernardeschi

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