Cristian Titi Ortiz Charlotte FC

There's a mix of familiarity and newness for Cristian “Titi” Ortiz during his early days as a Charlotte FC player.

The attacking midfielder, signed last week on loan from Liga MX's Club Tijuana, reunites with head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez and midfielder Alan Franco from their time together at Independiente del Valle in the Ecuadorian top flight two years ago.

Ortiz said he grew as a player under Ramirez, improving his defensive traits. He also played a variety of roles on the attacking side, as a winger and a No. 10 tucked behind the striker.

And while it's early days in preseason – his exact role will come into focus before a Feb. 26 opener at D.C. United – the 29-year-old Argentine has high expectations for his first year in MLS.

“I'm an attacking player,” he said through a translator in a virtual media availability Monday morning. “I’ve improved a lot my defensive skills as well, that’s because of Miguel Angel Ramirez. I'm a game-changer. I like to shoot the ball from the outside.”

Ortiz is already familiar with Ramirez’s complex game model, which should help him acclimate quicker to his new environment as the expansion side looks to make waves in 2022.

“I think nowadays it is very important to have a positional game model just like Miguel has it right now,” he said. “Every big team has this positional type of playing style. When you understand it, when the team overall understands what to do with the ball and the passing options that you have, it’s super important and the most important part of it is that it's very fun to play in this game model.”

Ortiz said he’s also familiar with Jordy Alcivar after competing against the central midfielder during his time at LDU Quito. And he's watched defender Christian Fuchs compete with Leicester City in the Premier League.

Everything else has been a positive first impression.

“I'm just meeting the players,” Ortiz said. “They helped me a lot joining a very good group, although I don't speak any sort of English. I love the guys. They have a big group out there. I hope to know them better through the course of the next weeks.”

Ortiz projects as a key part of Charlotte's attack alongside U22 Initiative striker Vinicius Mello, who played under Ramirez at Brazilian side Internacional.

Before coming to Charlotte, Ortiz made 17 appearances for Club Tijuana, a move sparked by scoring 19 goals total for Independiente del Valle.