Orlando City (4-3-2, 14 pts.) wraps up a busy April at Exploria Stadium with its fifth home match of the month in all competitions, taking on 2022 expansion side Charlotte FC (3-5-1, 10 pts.) for the first time ever. The match is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised locally on FOX35 PLUS and LionNation TV, with pre-game coverage beginning at 7 p.m. Local radio coverage will also be available from 7 p.m. ET on Real Radio 104.1 in English and Acción 97.9 FM in Spanish.
Here’s everything you need to know about Charlotte:
Key Transactions and Player News
Key Additions - CF Karol Swiderski (PAOK), F Kamil Jozwiak (Derby County), AM/W Christian “Titi” Ortiz (Club Tijuana), DM Jordy Alcivar (LDU Quito), CM Ben Bender (University of Maryland), CB Guzmán Corujo (Nacional), LB Christian Fuchs (Leicester City) GK Kristijan Kahlina (Ludogorets Razgrad),
Key Departures - AM Riley McGree (Middlesbrough)
News - We could have listed the entire roster as “key additions” for Charlotte, as they are in the midst of their inaugural season as MLS’ 28th club. But a few players have stood out in the early going. DP forward Karol Swiderski has been worth every penny thus far, scoring four goals and adding an assist, while top SuperDraft pick Ben Bender has been a pleasant surprise with three assists from central midfield. Kamil Jozwiak, the club’s most recent DP signing, has been training with the club for two weeks but has yet to debut.
Take a look at Charlotte’s full roster here.
Charlotte is off to a respectable start for an expansion team, accruing ten points in their first nine matches, the most any expansion side has had through nine games since LAFC picked up a stunning 19 points in 2018. The club has struggled on the road, but Charlotte earned their first away point this past weekend, drawing Colorado 0-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Orlando City and Charlotte will play for the very first time on Saturday. The Lions have done well in recent years in debut matchups, winning their last three inaugural games against MLS expansion clubs. City defeated FC Cincinnati 5-1 in 2019, topped Inter Miami CF 2-1 at the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020 and beat Nashville SC 3-1 later that summer.
Rasmussen University Fact
Charlotte’s first home game at Bank of America Stadium back in March broke the all-time MLS attendance record for a single match, with 74,749 fans packing the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers for the night. Orlando City will pay a visit to Charlotte on August 21.