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May 3, 2024 7:15 pm

Charlotte FC, Timbers aim to find momentum

claudio bravo

The Portland Timbers and Charlotte FC are in need of more than compliments. They covet victories.

The teams meet Saturday night in Charlotte seeking to spark their seasons.

“We’ve been getting a lot of plaudits for the way we attack,” Timbers coach Phil Neville said. “I want people to praise us for winning games of football, not playing well and losing.”

Charlotte (3-5-2, 11 points) and Portland (2-4-4, 10 points) are in similar positions: They need points, or they’re in danger of spending a large portion of the season in the bottom half of their respective conferences.

This will be the Timbers’ first-ever match in Charlotte, a team that has only one goal in its past two matches combined.

According to some analytics, Charlotte rates in the top 10 teams in the MLS in strong scoring chances, but that’s not reflected in the team’s place in the standings.

“I’m probably more pleased with the game than other people (who) just see the results,” coach Dean Smith said. “I always say it’s never too bad when you lose. It’s pretty much the same, it’s never that good when you win as well.”

The Timbers, who’ve gone nearly two months since winning a match, seek to gain more value from defender Claudio Bravo’s return to action. He played in four April matches, starting the last three.

“It’s about mentality,” Neville said. “Claudio Bravo has that mentality. He has been a breath of fresh air since coming back.”

Home field means something for Charlotte FC, who have collected 10 of their points on their home pitch. With four of their six May matches at home, it’s time to make a move.

Yet that overall volume of matches could be taxing on the team, so more lineup combinations are bound to be in the works.

“It’s going to get warmer, so we will be looking to utilize the bench now as well,” Smith said.

In the bid to get on a roll, there could be unconventional routes for Charlotte.

“I like to roll the dice at times,” Smith said.

–Field Level Media

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