Charlotte FC Fan Kit: Football Match at Bank of America Stadium

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Charlotte FC fans watch the team play against DC United during a watch party at the Salud Beer Shop in Charlotte on February 26. DC United beat Charlotte FC 3-0.

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Football is finally coming to Charlotte

Charlotte FC has the fans and the sponsors, and the Bank of America Stadium is equipped for football, but can the MLS expansion team measure up on the pitch? Here’s what to know as the inaugural season approaches.


With Charlotte FC’s inaugural season underway, Major League Soccer is being introduced to many new fans across the Carolinas.

The expansion team entered the league as the 28th team in MLS and played their season opener last weekend against DC United in Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, Charlotte will make its home turf debut against the LA Galaxy at Bank of America Stadium in front of what the league expects to be a record crowd.

Here are the football basics you need to know ahead of the home opener.

How many MLS teams are there? How it works?

Charlotte FC is one of 14 teams in the Eastern Conference and among the 28 teams in the league. The other conference rivals closest geographically to Charlotte are Atlanta United, DC United and FC Cincinnati. Nashville SC moved from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference this year with the arrival of Charlotte FC.

Each club will play 34 regular season matches, split equally between home and away games. Each team plays each conference opponent twice and eight non-conference opponents once.

The top seven clubs in each conference in points qualify for the playoffs (14 teams total). Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a tie, and zero points for a loss. The number of goals scored during the regular season also matters, because if there is a tie on points at the end of the regular season, a tiebreaker will determine who advances based on total wins per game, followed by Goal difference per game, i.e. goals scored per game minus goals conceded per game.

Charlotte FC have said they want to stage a playoff game in their first season. To do so, the club will need to finish among the top four teams in its conference to perform hosting duties, as an example set by LAFC in 2018 or Atlanta in 2017.

What are the MLS player and roster rules?

For match day, each team will have a maximum of 20 players on their official match roster, which includes 11 starters and nine substitutes. A team’s active roster includes up to 30 players. Charlotte FC have signed 25 players.

The league has complicated salary budget and roster rules that involve what is essentially counterfeit currency (General Allowance Money, or GAM) that can be traded in trade deals or used to reduce the salary budget of a player. The maximum salary budget charge for a single player this year is $612,500.

This figure is also important because it relates to Designated Players, or DPs, whose salaries and transfer fees may exceed these fees. A team can add up to three DPs to their roster, but they are responsible for keeping the amount outside of each DP’s salary budget. The DP designation was introduced to allow teams to sign high quality players on more expensive contracts. Polish striker Karol Świderski is Charlotte FC’s only Designated Player so far, although Ecuadorian midfielder Jordy Alcívar carries the Designated Youth Player label, which means he is under 23 (22 in his case) and that he will have a lower wage budget burden.

What are the positions in football?

Basically, there are four types of positions in football: goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and striker. These positions become more specialized depending on a player’s abilities and where exactly they are playing on the pitch. For example, a striker can specifically play as a striker, meaning they play directly in the center and closer to the opposing team’s goal for attack. Wingers attack players who line up further apart on the sidelines and will try to send the ball to the striker or centre-forward, who plays slightly deeper than a striker.

In midfield, there can be central midfielders, defensive midfielders or attacking midfielders, and these players cover the areas related to these name designations: An attacking midfielder, usually a No. 10, plays higher up the pitch and has been described as the “offensive playmaker”. A central midfielder will sometimes be described as a ‘box-to-box’ midfielder, meaning they are tasked with assisting both defense and attack, while a defensive midfielder plays close to defenders, deeper down the pitch.

For defenders, there are centre-backs (left or right), who play closest to their own goal in addition to the goalkeeper, and right- and left-backs, who are like the wingers of the defense in this sense that they play pushed further. to fortify the rear line.

The clock

Major League Soccer matches last 90 minutes with a clock counting down from 0:00 and are split into two halves. A referee can also add time out after each half, which is extra time on the clock to make up for non-playing moments, such as player injuries, video reviews, water breaks , etc

For playoff games, two 15-minute overtime periods are played if the score is tied after settlement. If the score is still tied after extra time, the game goes to penalties.

Important football rules

Off-side: According to the International Football Association Board, a player is offside when any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half of the pitch (excluding the halfway line) and the one of these parts is closer to the opposing goal line than the ball and the penultimate opponent. It is common for players to run past defenders, for example, but the offside call will usually only happen if a player’s body is in that position when playing the ball.

It was the call that canceled out Charlotte’s first goal against DC Titi Ortíz received a forward pass and played the ball closer to United’s goal than United’s penultimate defender, that is, the United player closest to his own goal besides the goalkeeper, and Ortíz was flagged offside.

Goal kick: A goal kick occurs when the ball leaves the field across the goal line, having been last touched by the attacking team. A defensive player can hit him from inside the goal area to outside the penalty area before he is in play.

Corner kick: A corner kick occurs when the ball leaves the field across the goal line, having been last touched by the defensive team. The ball is placed inside the corner arc and put into play by an attacking player.

Mistake: There are different types of fouls that can be called and will not be allowed, such as tackling from behind, holding, kicking, tripping or pushing an opponent and deliberately handling the ball if it is not the goalkeeper. goal (“ball from the hand”) which will usually result in a direct free kick, which is a free pass or shot from where the foul was committed. If the foul was committed inside the team’s penalty area, then a penalty is awarded instead.

Yellow card: A referee will show a player a yellow card as a warning for unsportsmanlike behavior and/or reckless play. If a player receives five yellow cards during the regular season, there will be a $250 fine and they will be suspended from their next regular season game.

Red card: A referee will show a player a red card when a more egregious offense occurs, or if a player receives a second yellow card, and will be sent off.

What other football terms should you know?

VAR: Video Assistant Referee is the widely used practice of consulting an official who is watching matches being broadcast on screen to make calls. VAR can be consulted for errors in the case of goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and when a player is misidentified.

Ground: The term for “field”.

Meet: The term for “game”.

Boots: The term for “cleats”.

Pencil case: A team uniform.

This story was originally published March 4, 2022 5:00 a.m.

NASCAR and Charlotte FC beat reporter Alex Andrejev joined The Observer in January 2020 after an internship at the Washington Post. She played Division I volleyball at Columbia University before earning her master’s degree at the University of Southern California.
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