There is one more midweek match in the MLS 2023 season this week which comes along on Wednesday evening when New York City FC play host to Charlotte FC in a clash between two Eastern Conference sides.
These two teams currently occupy the two spots immediately below the playoff line so this feels like an important match in the season of both, not least because the winner will end the midweek spell in the top nine in the table.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full via the Apple TV MLS Season Pass with the build-up beginning at 12.10am and the match kicking off at 12.39am. It is also available with the bookmakers as well.
New York City FC
When you consider that two seasons ago New York City FC were the champions and last year they were competitive for the most part, this season has come as a bit of a surprise even though the way that MLS is set up that no team can dominate forever. The key thing was losing Valentin Castellanos and mysteriously not bothering to replace him. As such they have been searching for a focal point to their attack all season and haven’t yet found the answer to that issue.
The result of that is NYC have won just five of their 21 matches this season and you would imagine they will need to double their win tally and add a couple on top if they are going to be involved in the postseason. Their 22 goals for is a real sign of where they have struggled this season. They do however go into this match off the back of a five-match unbeaten run, one which yielded that fifth win in Montreal at the weekend.
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Charlotte FC didn’t have the same expectations coming into their second season in the league but they will still be disappointed with the output they have managed. They put together a decent looking squad in the off-season, one which looked like it had the capabilities of really competing in the Eastern Conference, or at the very least be safely in mid-table and comfortably in the playoffs and not needed a good final third of the campaign to get in.
Charlotte FC have had a pretty obvious problem this season which has been keeping the ball out of their net. No team in MLS have conceded more goals than them this term and that is disappointing for them because their 27 goals in their 20 matches is a pretty decent return given their inexperience in the league. If they can tighten up at the back then there could yet be a playoff berth waiting for them.
For all that New York City FC have struggled this season, they have only lost two matches at home and they have been to FC Cincinnati, the overwhelming best team this term, and Philadelphia Union, comfortably the best side in the Eastern Conference last term, so I don’t necessarily think we should write off the home team here, particularly when you consider that after so long without a win they finally got one on the board last weekend.
Charlotte FC have now won just one of their last seven matches but they do come in here having not had to play at the weekend which might give them something of a freshness advantage, although to be fair New York played on Saturday so they have had enough recovery time. Charlotte won here last season but they don’t look in the sort of form that suggests a repeat is guaranteed. I expect NYCFC to kick on after that win at the weekend and take advantage of a vulnerable Charlotte FC defence.
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