Charlotte meets Toronto in battle of Eastern Conference bottom-feeders

League: MLS

Posted on: 03 Oct, 2023 at 11:03 PM

Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC and Charlotte FC have lots in common as October arrives on the MLS schedule.

Not much of it is good, as they're the two teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. That's the background for the meeting between the teams Wednesday night in Charlotte.

Charlotte (7-11-12, 33 points) could use some positive vibes, particularly after Saturday night's frustrating loss at New England.

"We have four more games that we have to approach to go out and win the next four," Charlotte coach Christian Lattanzio said. "We focus on playing a strong game and to be ready mentally and physically. We want to give a great performance to the fans."

Toronto (4-17-10, 22 points) can't catch Charlotte in the standings because it has one fewer remaining match. In Saturday's home loss, Toronto saw Cincinnati clinch the top record in the MLS.

"We represent Toronto FC," defender Aime Mabika said. "Whether we're playing to get into the playoffs or not, we play for the badge and try to get three points."

Jonathan Osorio scored two goals against Cincinnati. He has recorded half of the team's last six goals.

"Even under the adversity we're going through, he continues to keep going," interim coach Terry Dunfield said. "He keeps coming in every day and working hard. I'm glad his hard work is rewarded."

Charlotte had a winless September with a 0-2-3 record. Lattanzio said his team needs to improve on reacting to adjustments from opposing teams.

Lattanzio said the use of widespread substitutions has come with a purpose, though those don't always work out as intended.

"We want to keep believing," Lattanzio said. "We have to approach every game to try to win. We will not change our mentality."

Toronto and Charlotte played to a 2-2 tie in early April at Toronto.

Federico Bernardeschi and Michael Bradley had the Toronto goals. Bradley also scored two goals in a 2022 match against Charlotte.

Benjamin Bender and Kamil Jozwiak scored for Charlotte in the meeting earlier this year. Bender has only two goals in MLS play since then, while Jozwiak's only other goal in MLS competition this year came later in April.

--Field Level Media