Charlotte FC travels to Seattle Sounders FC in Week 14 in pursuit of their first away victory in Major League Soccer (Sunday, 9:30 p.m. ET ).
If anyone thinks the visitors won’t pull off an upset against the Concacaf Champions League winners in 2022, manager Miguel Angel Ramirez would like to speak with such a person.
“I’m not flying almost six hours just to battle for a point,” Ramirez stated at a press conference on Friday. “I’m going to get the three points if I go there. If that is not the case, I will remain here. I never think to myself in the morning that we might get a point on Sunday. This is not my thinking. I aim for three points at all times. And if I don’t make this my job, I won’t do it.
That’s not so much a dig at Seattle, whose talent coach Ramirez has praised, as it is a struggle for the expansion team to break through outside of Bank of America Stadium. They have 5W-2L-0D at home and have only taken one point away from North Carolina in late April, a 0-0 draw at the Colorado Rapids.
Ramirez was also heartened by his team’s 3-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls in the US Open Cup Round of 16, a knockout-round match that was open until Tom Barlow’s stoppage-time insurance goal. It provided a level of competition that the Spaniard had been looking for outside of their home country.
He said, “I told them in the halftime talk that we were going to take this move against Red Bull. We were competing much, much, much better than we had ever competed before in that game. It was the most difficult game we’d ever played away from home. As a result, the response was overwhelmingly positive. They took the first step.
“Of course, I’m looking for consistency in this reaction now. I’d like to take another step. And now it’s time for us to take another step, as individuals, as a team, and as a coach, to obtain a better result, a more positive result.
“Not only in terms of how we compete, but also in terms of how well we compete. Otherwise, there isn’t a chance. Ramirez said it’s unknown how often he’ll rotate his players, but he’ll field as strong a team as he feels sensible.”
Unfortunately, the coach has already had a limited number of possibilities ahead of the next game. Karol Swiderski, the team’s best scorer, is with the Polish national team. Yordy Reyna, a winger, is still sidelined with a thigh injury.
After playing on Wednesday, defenders Christian Makoun (thigh) and Harrison Afful (lower leg) were listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, but Ramirez believes they would be available.
Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF have both won in Seattle this season, although both triumphs came while the Sounders were juggling their CCL title. Charlotte will now try to accompany them to their first West Coast match. Following that, the crown, like others, will enter the international break in June.