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Major League Soccer
Jun 20, 2024 at 12.30am UK
Bank of America Stadium

Charlotte FC
2 - 2
Orlando City

Vargas (12'), Bronico (77')
Byrne (90+1')
Arfield (38')
FT(HT: 1-0)
McGuire (64'), Torres (81')
McGuire (27'), Torres (50')

Preview: Charlotte FC vs. Orlando City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Charlotte FC vs. Orlando City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Major League Soccer clash between Charlotte FC and Orlando City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Looking to extend their winning run to three matches, an in-form Charlotte FC will welcome strugglers Orlando City to the Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday for a MLS clash of massive importance.

The Crown's stellar spell of results recently continued with a narrow success over DC United on the weekend, whilst the Lions were bested by Western Conference challengers Los Angeles FC.

Match preview

After ending their May schedule with a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the home of New York Red Bulls, Charlotte's mission to compete in the upper echelons of the Eastern Conference are back on track following successive wins in June so far, with the Crown beating Atlanta United in Georgia before defeating DC United on home soil.

For the fifth match in succession at the Bank of America Stadium, the well-drilled hosts managed to keep a clean sheet, meaning that Kerwin Vargas's third of the MLS campaign was enough to secure maximum points for Charlotte, who are now firmly cemented in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Having tasted defeat in just one of their last eight league matches, the Crown are currently occupying fifth position in their section, possessing a nine-point buffer over 10th-placed DC United, although the gap to Lionel Messi's conference-leading Inter Miami stands at 10 points.

With only Columbus Crew (15) conceding fewer goals than Charlotte's 18 so far in the 2024 campaign, it is clear to see the positive effects of Dean Smith's leadership in North Carolina, with the former Aston Villa and Norwich City boss bringing a large dose of English pragmatism to the United States.

The Crown's record at their Bank of America Stadium is nothing short of sensational, with Wednesday's hosts winning six and losing just one of their opening 10 contests in front of their home faithful, collecting more points from home games than any other club in the Eastern Conference.

Orlando City extended their winless run in MLS to a worrying four matches on Saturday night, when Supporters' Shield contenders Los Angeles FC rocked up at the Inter&Co Stadium and collected maximum points, with the Lions conceding three goals in a match for the first time since the CONCACAF Champions Cup defeat to Mexican giants Tigre in March.

That statistic should act as a compliment to the attacking powers of Steve Cherundolo's troops, who secured three points in Florida thanks to a Denis Bouanga brace and a late strike from Mateusz Bogusz, meaning that Mason Stajduhar was a long way off earning his second clean sheet of the term.

Although a record of just three wins in their last 11 MLS contests will not instil belief into Orlando ahead of a daunting trip to the Bank of America Stadium, the visitors will draw confidence from the fact that all of those victories have arrived on the road, with the Lions particularly poor on home soil.

In fact, Orlando's collection of six points from nine home matches so far in 2024 is the fewest in the entire division, so Oscar Pareja's side will be pretty content with playing away from Florida on Wednesday night, regardless of how formidable Charlotte tend to be at their North Carolina base.

After a move to English Championship side Blackburn Rovers comically collapsed in the final stages of the January transfer window - even after he had undertaken media duties with his prospective new employers - Duncan McGuire has been a brilliant professional back in the United States since, netting five goals in 14 MLS appearances.

Charlotte FC Major League Soccer form:

Orlando City Major League Soccer form:

Team News

After keeping another clean sheet on home soil last time out, Charlotte are fully expected to stick with a centre-back pairing of Adilson Malanda and Andrew Privett.

Jere Uronen provided the assist for Vargas's winner against DC United, and the Finnish full-back should retain his spot on the left, with Englishman Nathan Byrne operating at right-back.

Due to the quick turnaround from the weekend, Charlotte boss Smith could opt to rotate some of his attacking options, meaning that Brecht Dejaeghere and Tyger Smalls might be promoted from the bench.

Having cemented himself as a first-team regular in 2023, Michael Halliday has endured a stop-start opening to 2024 due to a troublesome knee injury.

Expect a couple of changes from the Lions following defeat on the weekend, but winger Facundo Torres is set to keep his spot in the XI despite missing a penalty last time out.

Martin Ojeda found the net against LAFC off the bench and should be brought in from the start on Wednesday, meaning that Ivan Angulo could have to settle for a place amongst the substitutes.

Charlotte FC possible starting lineup:
Kahlina; Byrne, Malanda, Privett, Uronen; Bronico, Westwood, Urso; Abada, Vargas, Agyemang

Orlando City possible starting lineup:
Stajduhar; Thorhallsson, Schlegel, Jansson, Santos; Torres, Lodeiro, Araujo, Ojeda; Lynn, Muriel

We say: Charlotte FC 2-1 Orlando City

With a sensational record at the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte will be overwhelming favourites for Wednesday night's clash, but we feel that Orlando could cause the hosts some issues.

That being said, we do not expect the Crown to suffer only their second MLS defeat in nine matches, with Smith's side having enough quality to secure maximum points.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Premier League Table

Eastern Conference

1Inter MiamiInter Miami25165456391753
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati25153744331148
3Columbus Crew23127447222543
4New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls251011442311141
5New York City FCNY City2511593630638
6Charlotte FCCharlotte FC2510783027337
7Orlando City259793938134
9Atlanta UnitedAtlanta2577113536-128
10Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2569104542327
11CF MontrealMontreal2569103449-1527
12Nashville SCNashville2568112639-1326
13DC United2568113550-1526
14Chicago Fire2567123042-1225
15New England RevolutionNew England2372142347-2423

Western Conference

1Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy26147550361449
2Los Angeles FCLos Angeles24145548301847
3Real Salt LakeSalt Lake25128551341744
4Colorado RapidsColorado2612595043741
5Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver2411584335838
6Houston DynamoHouston2410773530537
7Seattle SoundersSeattle2510783429537
8Portland TimbersPortland2510695042836
9Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd2596104041-133
10Austin FCAustin2587102837-931
12Sporting Kansas CityKansas2666144152-1124
13St Louis City25411103246-1423
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes2542193161-3014
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