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Charlotte FC vs. Chicago Fire FC Breakdown

13 days ago


Up to now, Major League Soccer has played its matches almost exclusively in Saturday evening time slots, with some Sunday games thrown in. This week, it changes.

For the first time in the 2023 MLS season, the activity on the pitch expands to a weeknight for Matchday 13. All told, Wednesday"s schedule features a  slate of 13 matches. One of the games featured on Wednesday night"s schedule of futbol is a rematch of a thrilling game from last season.

Charlotte Comes Home vs. Chicago on Wednesday Night

Sophomore side Charlotte FC (4-3-5, 15 points in the standings, 12th place in the Eastern Conference) continues the season with a home date at Bank of America Stadium, the home venue of the NFL‘s Carolina Panthers. They"ll be taking on the other team sharing its match grounds with a gridiron side, Chicago Fire FC (3-5-3, 14 points in the standings, 13th place in the Western Conference.)

As with most night games in MLS taking place in the Eastern Time Zone, Wednesday"s match is scheduled to kick off at just past 7:30 pm ET/ 6;30 pm CT. Live coverage is streamed over MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

This match takes place during the middle of MLS Rivalry Week. Although Charlotte FC vs. Chicago Fire FC isn"t a rivalry, their game last September proved to be one of the most thrilling contests of the season.

When Last They Met…

Back in the dying embers of the summer solstice last year, it looked as though the Fire had a 2-0 win all but wrapped up thanks to two goals inside the opening half-hour. Charlotte stormed back in the second half, particularly, the final quarter-hour and beyond.

Striker/designated player Karol Swiderski netted the first Charlotte FC goal of the night in the 68th minute, followed in the 76th minute by midfielder Nuno Santos to tie the game up at 2-2. In the sixth minute of second half stoppage time, Swiderski completed a brace to finish off the comeback.


The all-time series between Charlotte and Chicago stands level at one win for each club. What can part three of this series bring?

Charlotte FC Coming In on Great Form

Heading into Wednesday night"s match, Charlotte has won four out of its last five matches across all competitions. This past Saturday, the team went down to Atlanta and bagged a 3-1 win against a shorthanded Atlanta United side.

After the match, Charlotte manager Christian Lattanzio had glowing words for his ballclub, while also complimenting the toughness of Atlanta.

“These are guys that if you don"t put your attention to your rotation defensively, they can go and then it"s difficult to catch them, so it wasn"t just [Atlanta United defender Caleb] Wiley, that we were worried about," Lattanzio said of the opposition. “But this is a team with many, many good players, and I think I"m very proud of how the boys played here with a lot of personality in tough circumstances."

What Can Justin Meram Do for An Encore?

Charlotte FC"s attack last Saturday was buoyed by midfielder Justin Meram. A member of the Iraq national team, the former Columbus Crew SC and Real Salt Lake midfielder had been kept off the scoreboard until Saturday night.

The match was only his third appearance since being traded to Charlotte last month, but it may as well have been Meram"s coming out party.  He scored his first two goals for the crown and for the season in the victory.

Thanks to Meram"s efforts, he was named to the MLS Team of the Matchday for Week 12.  Now that he"s broken his cold streak, how will he follow it up in the middle of the week?

Chicago Entering Off Back-to-Back Wins vs. St. Louis City SC

If the Chicago Fire had to pick their favorite dance move, the odds are that they"d likely want to do the two-step. They"ve already done the two-step in the past week.

Fire FC enter the midweek match having gone 3-1-1 over the past five contests, including two wins in succession last week against St. Louis City SC, first in the US Open Cup last Tuesday and then in league play on Saturday afternoon. Center-back Rafael Czichos tallied the match"s single goal just prior to halftime at CityPark.

St. Louis City SC defender John Nelson received his second yellow card of the match in the 70th minute. As per MLS disciplinary regulations, Nelson has been suspended for this coming Saturday"s match versus SKC.

Frank Klopas Inherits Tough Situation in Chicago But Can Go 3-for-3 with Win

A week ago, the Chicago Fire and now-former manager Ezra Hendrickson severed their ties. In Hendrickson"s place, the club elevated Frank Klopas as interim manager.

He"ll remain in this capacity until the close of the Fire"s season. Chicago midfielder Xherdan Shaquiri met with the media following Saturday afternoon"s win against St. Louis City SC.  He mentioned that Klopas is already making an impact as interim head coach.

“I think everybody knows how important Frank is to this club, and how good his knowledge is about football and I think this is a big win for the club," Shaquiri began. “And you can see (his effect on the team) straight away. How he explains things to the team and the message, how we want to play, and we tried to put it straight away on the pitch."

Klopas has proven impressive so far, but will he keep it up on Wednesday?

Final Thoughts

While not the most appealing match on the midweek slate, the Charlotte FC/ Chicago Fire game is an interesting one, especially given how the contest between the two panned out last September.

Prediction: Charlotte 3, Chicago 0.

Featured Image Credit:

Maurício Chumbo
13 days ago
Nice post
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