Expansion club Charlotte FC will try to build on its strong home record when it hosts D.C. United and new manager Wayne Rooney on Wednesday night.
Charlotte (8-12-2, 26 points) has won seven of 10 at home to remain on the fringe of the playoff race despite a woeful away record. Interim manager Christian Lattanzio began the week in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and three points back of the seventh and final playoff spot.
Karol Swiderski and Andre Shinyashiki each have five goals to lead the club, and 2022 first overall draft pick Ben Bender has three. Charlotte has notched four of its five shutouts in home games, with first-choice goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina responsible for all of them.
Charlotte could be fresher than D.C. (6-12-3, 21 points) after Saturday's home match against Columbus was abandoned after 16 minutes due to severe weather. But it didn't feel like a blessing at the time with the club coming off back-to-back away defeats.
"Ideally we wanted to play because we prepared for the game and we were ready and as we said before, we knew that Columbus was a good team in a good moment," Lattanzio said. "They had chances, we had chances and it looked like a very exciting game."
The former England and Manchester United star Rooney has taken over D.C. after playing for the club for 2018 and 2019.
He managed Derby County in England's second division through the end of last season, where they were relegated after a 21-point sanction due to the club's financial issues.
D.C. United pulled off a stunning 2-1 home win over Orlando City in Rooney's coaching debut, scoring twice in second-half stoppage time.
Taxi Fountas won the match with his team-leading 11th goal of the season. Former D.C. academy product Chris Durkin scored the equalizer four minutes earlier.
The result is a renewed feeling of belief for a club that remains last in the East.
"We've been in a tough spot like you said, but we want to start the momentum now," Durkin said afterward. "It was an incredible performance by the group tonight. Maybe not with the ball at all times, but just mentally. And the fans were amazing. Even when we were 1-0 down, the support to keep us pushing was incredible."
--Field Level Media