Stingy Charlotte looking to stifle goals-challenged Orlando City

League: MLS

Posted on: 18 Jun, 2024 at 06:27 PM

Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte FC take a five-match home streak without allowing a goal into their next assignment against Orlando City SC, who have been offensively challenged this season.

Wednesday night's match is another chance for Charlotte to continue to climb the Eastern Conference standings against an Orlando side that has produced 17 goals in 17 matches.

Charlotte (8-6-4, 28 points) is 5-1-2 since the beginning of May.

"Now all eyes on Orlando and how we can try to beat them," Charlotte coach Dean Smith said.

Goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina has recorded eight clean sheets this season for Charlotte.

Orlando (4-8-5, 17 points) has a less stable goalkeeping situation as Mason Stajduhar has been filling in for Pedro Gallese, who is away with Peru's national team.

But coach Oscar Pareja of Orlando City said his club had the upper hand for much of Saturday's 3-1 loss to visiting Los Angeles FC despite the team's winless streak reaching four matches (0-3-1).

"We put that energy and outplayed them, but that's not enough obviously," Pareja said. "In this industry we need to win games and you win games by scoring goals and that's not happening."

Charlotte has generated strong offensive sequences, but those haven't always tested goalkeepers as much as needed.

"I think our chance-creation was good," Smith said, referring to last weekend's 1-0 win against D.C. United. "I think our execution was not so good."

Midfielder Junior Urso is a newcomer to Charlotte after spending four-plus seasons with Orlando. That could work in Charlotte's favor Wednesday night.

"It helps," Smith said. "Little insights of information that can help. The fact that Junior will know a lot about them will certainly help us as well."

Urso has started six of his 12 matches with Charlotte.

Kerwin Vargas scored Charlotte's only goal Saturday vs. DC United, ending a six-match scoreless stretch.

When Orlando City fell to Los Angeles, Martin Ojeda had the only goal in the defeat. Last year, Ojeda scored a goal in both matches against Charlotte, though Orlando City went 0-1-1 in those meetings.

This year thus far has produced few highlights for Orlando City.

"We need to have a deeper analysis about what's happening on the pitch," Pareja said. "But once again, it's not enough at this point. We need to win games and that's not happening."

--Field Level Media