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May 10, 2024 6:38 pm

Nashville SC, Charlotte FC look to build on victories

Hany Mukhtar

Recent success can do wonders for the mindset of teams that have a losing record.

Two of those teams will meet Saturday night when Charlotte FC hosts Nashville SC.

Both clubs are coming off welcome victories.

“Very, very important for some confidence,” Nashville coach Gary Smith said. “Make no mistake, it’s the first step in a long journey for us to get back to some rhythm, some success, put ourselves back in a position where there’s some belief again that we can get results.”

Charlotte (4-5-2, 14 points) will be without striker Enzo Copetti, who likely will head to a club in Argentina after a rough stay in Charlotte. That topic has consumed much of the attention for a team coming off a 2-0 home victory over the Portland Timbers last week.

“It has happened, and we felt it was right for him not to be involved this weekend,” Charlotte coach Dean Smith said of Copetti.

One of the two victories this season for Nashville (2-3-5, 11 points) came 2-1 at home against Charlotte on March 16. That game was followed by a five-match winless streak (0-3-2) before Nashville’s 4-1 home thumping of Montreal last weekend.

“We waited a long time, but it’s worth it,” midfielder Hany Mukhtar said. “Now we have to go on a run. It’s just a start.”

Mukhtar might be geared up for another strong game after providing two assists against Montreal in a performance perhaps overshadowed by Sam Surridge’s hat trick.

Surridge has a team-high five goals for Nashville, which also could benefit from Walker Zimmerman’s presence on Saturday. The captain had a goal last Saturday in only his second outing in almost two months.

“It feels good to be back,” said Zimmerman, who had been out with a knee injury. “It feels good to celebrate with a win.”

Charlotte had other off-field news late in the week when forward Kerwin Vargas signed a contract through the 2027 season. He has played in 60 matches since joining the team two years ago this month.

–Field Level Media

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