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Chicago will travel to North Carolina this Saturday for their first-ever matchup with expansion side Charlotte FC in their inaugural season.

Head Coach Christian Lattanzio’s side are 7-3-0 at Bank of America stadium this season, and are fighting with the Fire for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. Charlotte have a game in hand, and are one point off of the Fire in 10th place while Chicago are just under the line in 8th.

Here’s what to look for in the Gerber Collision and Glass scouting report…

EARLY CHANGE

Just 14 games into the season, Charlotte FC decided to fire their manager Miguel Angel Ramirez when they were 8th place.

Lattanzio took over on May 31, when the team was 5-9-1. Since then, they have gone 3-3-1.

Lattanzio has been praised with sharpening up the defense and allowing for more freedom in the attacking third.

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

As of late, Charlotte has been employing a 4-4-2 formation with Polish Designated Players Karol Swiderski and Kamil Jozwiak leading the line.

Swiderski leads the team with five goals along with Andre Shinyashiki. Shinyashiki - acquired from Colorado earlier this year - plays out on the wing along with Yordy Reyna. Former Fire man Brandt Bronico and Quinn McNeill have been getting starts recently in the midfield.

In the defense, Christian Fuchs has been playing center back along with Guzman Corujo. Fuchs, however, received a red card against Toronto two weeks ago and - due to their postponed fixture against Columbus - Fuchs will be unavailable this weekend against the Fire.

The former Premier League winner with Leicester City is a huge piece for this team emotionally as both the captain and a high-quality defender. Joseph Mora and Jaylin Lindsey are both very good outside backs with high-motors and can get involved in the attack.

ROADIES

The Fire will need a couple of road wins down the stretch if they are to make the postseason. They have proven they can be extremely difficult to beat at home, registering 11 clean sheets in the last 15 games played at Soldier Field (dating back to last September), but their away form has been an issue this year. Whether it be this match at Bank of America Stadium, at Philadelphia next weekend, or perhaps at TQL Stadium against FC Cincinnati, Chicago will need to pick up a couple wins (maybe three) if they are going to finish inside of the top seven.

Taking advantage of opportunities and limiting mistakes is typically the recipe for success on the road, along with being locked in for as close to 90 minutes as possible.

Charlotte have gone 7-3-0 at home so far this season, with a +8 goal differential. They use the initial energy from the crowd to their advantage as well as wearing teams down. They have scored close to 50% of their goals in the first 15 minutes of the game or the final 15 minutes.

FINAL THOUGHTS

While Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Atlanta United was disappointing, this group is still unbeaten in their last four and riding a lot of momentum particularly on the defensive end, having recorded three clean sheets in four matches.

Any sort of result at Bank of America Stadium is something to be proud of, especially considering no one has gone in there and gotten a draw yet.

Charlotte have only kept six clean sheets this season compared to the Fire’s 10, so they are guilty of conceding. Chicago will need their finishing boots (like we saw in Vancouver) and then some. Ezra’s boys created enough chances to win on Saturday, but simply didn’t have the same ruthless mentality we saw in Cascadia.

This is a huge game on so many different levels, as well the first of its kind. See you on WGN and CF97 Live on Saturday night at 6 p.m. CT.