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Jun 28, 2024 8:39 pm

Charlotte FC, Dynamo pride themselves on staunch defense

Latif Blessing

Two of the best defensive clubs in MLS will try to continue unbeaten streaks when Charlotte FC visit the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Charlotte FC have allowed the second-fewest (20) goals of any team this season, while the Dynamo (23) are tied for the third-fewest concessions. Though they are also two of the league’s lower-scoring clubs, improved offense has been key to their recent good form.

A 2-0-3 record in their last five matches has put the Dynamo (7-6-6, 27 points) back over the playoff line. Thirteen of the team’s 26 total goals have come during that five-match streak, including a season-best four tallies last Saturday in a 4-1 road win over D.C. United.

The victory ended Houston’s string of three straight draws, with Dynamo coach Ben Olsen believing his team displayed “a certain moxie and grit and focus that you need in those moments” of holding a lead.

“We’d talked all week about being a hair more pragmatic at times to maximize points. … We saw that (last Saturday), which was really nice,” Olsen said.

Charlotte (9-6-5, 32 points) had a season-high 18 shots and seven shots on target in its 2-0 victory at the Philadelphia Union on June 22. The offensive breakout was paired with another strong defensive effort as Charlotte FC recorded their league-best ninth shutout.

“It’s just the mentality of being tough to beat,” defender Andrew Privett said. “Not giving the other team many chances, being organized … and having each other’s back. So (if) one guy gets beat, the next one’s there to stop anything.”

Charlotte FC are 6-1-3 in their past 10 matches and 3-0-1 in their past four. After scoring only 15 times in their first 16 matches, Charlotte has eight goals during its four-match unbeaten run.

Charlotte will be without captain Ashley Westwood, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Westwood, Privett and Charlotte FC goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina have played every minute this season.

Houston’s Latif Blessing and Charlotte’s Patrick Agyemang lead their respective teams with five goals apiece.

–Field Level Media

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