Charlotte coach Miguel Ramirez says the number of absentees opponents Inter Miami are facing makes it difficult to plan for Saturday’s clash, but is excited to be playing at home.
Charlotte are 11th in the Eastern Conference after three games without a win, but all of those contests came on the road, and they have won three successive home games, which Ramirez says can intimidate opponents.
“We are super excited to be at home. The confidence and the support that we have here at home, of course, we don’t have away,” he said. “And playing in front of our people and feeling the support and love from our people is amazing for us.”
“It also scares the opponent. Now they know, opponents know how difficult it is to beat us here and how powerful the atmosphere and energy is in this stadium.
“With have so many absences, we don’t know what elements we are going to find in specific positions. It makes it difficult to predict what they are going to do.”
Phil Neville’s visitors sit one place below the hosts in the Eastern conference and face a number of injury problems, but will benefit from Aston Villa’s Indiana Vassilev returning after making 20 appearances on loan in 2021.
Neville says the reacquisition of Vassilev gives his side greater depth in attack and expects him to be involved in North Carolina.
“He’s someone that we’ve been chasing for a long time. We’ve just been trying to piece the jigsaw together, and he gives us really good depth now,” Neville said of the 21-year-old.
“When he came in this morning you saw his popularity; the whole building was excited to see him. He’s going to be available over the weekend, expect to see him on the pitch at some stage.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Charlotte FC – Karol Swiderski
The Polish forward has scored four goals in the MLS this season, all of which came in back-to-back home wins over New England and Cincinnati in March.
Inter Miami – Indiana Vassilev
With top goalscorer Leonardo Campana picking up a knock last time out and Gonzalo Higuain suffering from injuries recently, Vassilev, who scored three MLS goals last season, may need to offer an immediate goal threat.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– This will be the first meeting between Charlotte FC and Inter Miami. This will also be the first time Miami has faced an expansion side while not being in their first season themselves.
– Charlotte returns home after taking one point from three away matches. Charlotte has won three straight home matches, as nine of its 10 points this season have come at Bank of America Stadium.
– Inter Miami’s three-match winning streak ended with a 2-0 loss at the Revolution on Saturday. Miami has scored only eight goals in its last 18 away matches, failing to score more than once in any of those games.
– The first goal has decided each of the nine matches in which there was one scored for Charlotte this season, as the team has gone on to win all three matches in which it scored first and lost all six in which it conceded first (they have one 0-0 draw).
– All nine of Inter Miami’s goals this season have been scored from inside the box despite a league-high 50.0 percent of their shots coming from outside (53/106). Jean Mota has attempted an MLS-high 22 shots from outside the box, while his 25 total shots are the most of any player without a goal this MLS season.