Charlotte FC goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina out after back surgery

Kahlina Charlotte

Charlotte FC starting goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina has undergone successful back surgery under six weeks before the 2023 MLS season begins, the second-year club announced Monday.

While no official recovery timeline was provided, head coach Christian Lattanzio gave a hopeful outlook in his first press conference of preseason camp.

"We are not sure exactly the day when he's coming back," Lattanzio said, also describing a fluid consultation process with Charlotte's performance staff. "I don't know if he's going to be ready exactly for the first game of the season, but we will see how the recovery goes. It shouldn't be a lot, lot later." 

The 30-year-old Croatia native kept seven clean sheets in 31 matches last season, joining from Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad. That helped the then-expansion club finish ninth in the Eastern Conference table, six points off the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs pace.

Charlotte have several options at goalkeeper in Kahlina’s potential absence, including main backup Pablo Sisniega. George Marks and Adrian Zendejas are two other options, though they bring limited first-team experience. 

Charlotte start their 2023 campaign on Feb. 25 when hosting the New England Revolution (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).