Charlotte FC part ways with head coach Christian Lattanzio
The club announced on Wednesday they've parted ways with head coach Christian Lattanzio. Assistant coach Andy Quy also departs with immediate effect. Lattanzio, who guided Charlotte to their first-ever Audi MLS Cup Playoffs berth in 2023, leaves after posting a 24W-24L-15D record across all competitions in his year-and-a-half in charge.
Orlando advance, Atlanta set up Match 3
Orlando City advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals via a 1-0 win over Nashville that earned them a Round One sweep. They’ll face the winner of Match 3 in Columbus on Sunday after Atlanta United rolled over the Crew in Atlanta.
Philadelphia Union defender Wagner suspended 3 matches
MLS has issued a three-match suspension to Philadelphia Union defender Kai Wagner for violating the league’s on-field antidiscrimination policy during the Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution match on Saturday, October 28. The suspension is effective immediately and Wagner will be unavailable for Philadelphia's match on Wednesday, November 8 at New England and the Union’s subsequent two MLS matches.
Sign up for The Daily Kickoff in your inbox! The Daily Kickoff is more than an article – it can be delivered to your email account as well.
What happened?: That’s more like it. We finally got the attacking outburst in this series we’d been hoping for. Giorgos Giakoumakis finished off an alley-oop header to get things started, but, in typical Atlanta and Columbus fashion, the Crew responded shortly after with a goal of their own from Cucho Hernandez.
Atlanta had a counterpunch in them though. A gorgeous sequence fell to the feet of Xande Silva inside the 18. Silva finished it off and then put on a Spider-Man mask for his two-year-old son right as the first half came to a close. From there, Atlanta had full control. Not even an all-timer of a miss from Silva could derail them. Edwin Mosquera and Thiago Almada scored to seal the win and set up a mouth-watering Match 3 in Columbus on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 7 pm ET.
So, did we learn anything?: Turns out having your best soccer players on the field is a great way to start playing better soccer. Almada and Saba Lobjanidze’s return to Atlanta’s XI went a long way in creating the space and opportunities for Giakoumakis and Silva to thrive. With Tristan Muyumba putting in a herculean man-of-the-match effort in midfield, the Five Stripes reminded everyone how talented the top of their roster is right now.
Even more importantly, Atlanta did something very un-Atlanta. After Cucho’s goal got Columbus back in the game, the Five Stripes didn’t fold. Silva’s goal before the half changed the tenor of the game and maybe the series. Atlanta officially looked up for the fight in a way they didn’t in Ohio last week.
Now, we’ve got a must-see winner-take-all matchup to look forward to on Sunday. It’s hard to doubt the home team in any MLS game, but it’s very clear this Atlanta United side has the ability to go punch-for-punch with the Crew when all of their pieces are available. I don’t know what to expect in Columbus. Other than goals.
What happened?: Ivan Angulo punished Nashville for an early mistake playing the ball out of the back and that was that. Nashville, despite chasing the game and the series, generated 0.4 xG on the night.
So, did we learn anything?: After Angulo scored, the rest of the game could have been an email. Nashville ends the year without a playoff goal and a run of five scoreless runouts in six games. I don’t know what the answer is here. They did make it to the Leagues Cup Final after all. But it’s an unacceptable end to the season after bringing in the DP No. 9 everyone had been waiting for. There’s a temptation here to start blowing some of this up and reworking the roster or the game model, and I wouldn’t blame anyone in charge for veering toward one or both. It feels like Nashville have slammed into their ceiling and it doesn’t seem to be getting any higher. There are some serious questions to ask.
That’s not to take anything from Orlando though. The Lions were professional and effective. They did everything they needed to and now they have some extra time to prepare for either Columbus or Atlanta in what will be an all-out war regardless of who comes out of that series. Orlando are good enough to see out a result against anyone though. This is just step one on what could be a remarkable run.
There are times when Philadelphia gets their freight train of a team up to speed and there isn’t a team in the world that can stop them. New England got a stark reminder of that in Match 1 last week. Daniel Gazdag converted a penalty in the 19th minute and from there the Union were off and running. Seven minutes later, Mikael Uhre scored. Eleven minutes after that Nathan Harriel found the net. In just 18 minutes of play, the Union had secured a 1-0 series lead in a fashion that we’ve become very familiar with in MLS over the last few years.
Somehow, some way tonight, New England can’t let the train get up to speed. If I had an answer on exactly how to do that, I wouldn’t be blogging for a living, but I’m going to guess it has a lot to do with avoiding critical mistakes in possession and ensuring the Union can’t break at speed with a numbers advantage in transition. Other than that…I dunno, get the ball to Carles Gil? I would get the ball to Carles Gil.
Look, it’s an uphill battle for the Revs in this series. It always seemed like it would be. But they are at home tonight, and they are facing a Union side that will have to adjust due to Kai Wagner’s suspension. Philadelphia aren’t in a place tonight where they’re likely to be firing on all cylinders. They should still have more than enough to punish New England if the opportunity arises, but that’s not a given. If the Revs can keep Philly in a low gear, find a way to exploit spaces out wide against a rearranged backline that’s already missing injured center back Jakob Glesnes, and allow Tomás Chancalay some room to cook, then the path to a home win starts to look a little more clear.
- Orlando's belief in an MLS Cup run is rising after sweeping Nashville.
- Spider-Man came to the rescue for Atlanta United.
- Matt Doyle looked at what 2023 meant for Minnesota United.
Good luck out there. It’s not anxiety, it's just your spidey sense tingling.