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Charlotte FC 2024 MLS season preview

We’re taking you through Charlotte's offseason action, hopes, fears, tactics & much more.

6 min read

Where we left off last year

2023 season: 43 points, 9th in the Eastern Conference

Charlotte snuck into the playoffs last year as the second (and final) wildcard in the Eastern Conference before losing by three goals to the New York Red Bulls. 

Former manager Christian Lattanzio’s tactical approach never seemed to truly take hold for Charlotte FC, or at least it didn’t help the players become more than the sum of their parts. Lattanzio, who was fired in November, wasn’t handed a great squad by sporting director Zoran Krneta, either. DPs Enzo Copetti and Kamal Jozwiak severely underperformed their roster designations. Jozwiak is no longer with the club.

What changed in the offseason

Notable arrivals:

  • Dean Smith, manager: With Lattanzio out, Charlotte FC hired 52-year-old Dean Smith to lead them in 2024. Outside of being named “Dean Smith”, which opens certain doors for you in North Carolina, the English manager has coached a handful of notable clubs across the Atlantic, including Brentford, Aston Villa, Norwich City, and Leicester City. Smith and Aston Villa were promoted to the Premier League in the 2018-2019 season and he was relegated with Norwich City in the 2021-22 season. There’s not a ton of evidence that points to Smith being a difference-maker on the sidelines, but he looks like a respectable hire. Now the pressure is on Krneta to give him a competitive team.
  • *Nikola Petkovic, DM: The 20-year-old Serbian arrived in Charlotte last winter before spending 2023 with the club’s reserve team in MLS Next Pro due to Charlotte FC’s salary cap limitations. Petkovic doesn’t have much professional experience, but his right-footed distribution pops on tape. He’ll take up a U-22 roster slot.

* Deal is yet to be announced but is likely to happen.

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