Charlotte: Enzo Coppete will be ‘a nightmare for defenders’

Like any other expansion season, CharlotteHer first MLS outing came with its share of highs and lows.

Overall, 2022 was a solid year for them – one that set the club on a positive path forward and one that was not short of intrigue. There was an early managerial change, mid-summer additions, sizable crowds, and a thrilling late-season push toward the MLS Audi Cup playoffs that ultimately fell through.

Charlotte’s opening goals have always been to be competitive and to lay a strong foundation for the future. But during the second year, the goal is twofold.

“It’s a playoff,” sporting director Zoran Karnita told when asked about the club’s predictions for 2023. “We want to be in the playoffs. For us, it’s a playoff and nothing less.”

What Copete brings

CLTFC has made some significant additions this season to reload for 2023, namely reload Enzo Copetti.

It was Copety, who turns 27 early next week I officially got it on Wednesday From the Argentine Racing Club first division team. The fee is about $6 million, per source, a similar figure when Charlotte acquired Poland International Carol Sodersky Last year from the Greek PAOK. Copte secured his career in 2022, contributing 21 goals and six assists in 47 matches in all competitions for Racing, one of the biggest clubs in Argentina.

It is a significant expense for a player the club believes is the perfect fit and can help take him to new heights. With their final open position – along with Świderski and winger Camille Jozwiak Charlotte has identified the striker position as the most advantageous position to invest in. Last year, Świderski was their leading scorer with 10g/6a in 30 matches.

“We thought adding a suitable striker was an area we could improve,” Karnita said. We have Carol [head coach Christian] He likes Latanzio a lot, but thinks he’s not a typical striker. Perhaps he doesn’t necessarily die for a goal, because he’s a good passer of the ball and loves to assist. [Copetti] It is more than a fox in the box. We thought we were short of a 15-goal type striker.”

After narrowing down the shortlist to a few players — “Enzo was always No. 1,” Carnita said — Charlotte pursued her first goal, making a few visits to Argentina to not only scout, but to meet the player and his family. By winter, Charlotte has made a deal.

Świderski relationship

Copetti’s fit alongside Oederski will be crucial to the club’s success in 2023.

Charlotte had loose plans to use her final DP position at No. 10 last summer, but she put those ideas on hold. Lattanzio even tried to use Świderski as a second striker/no. 10 hybrid, a role in which the 25-year-old has thrived. They also added a creative midfielder Nuno Santos From Portugal’s Benfica last August, a deal that fell just short of DP’s threshold to help maintain that record for the winter.

“The pair will do well,” said Krneta. “Kopte likes to run; he’s a defender’s nightmare. Defenders hate forwards who run too much. Carroll is a really good creator. He loves to assist. I think the two of them will work well. Carroll is very versatile.”

Before Copetti broke out with Racing Club, he was playing in the Argentine second division with Atlético de Rafaela. It wasn’t until 2021 — his 25-year-old season — that Kopete really blossomed.

“He is a shining star who played in the second division,” Karnita said. “He’s a player who runs all the time, doesn’t stop. He attacks spaces all the time, and he’s exactly the kind of player we want. He’s hungry too. We want players who are hungry, players who have something to prove and want to do more.”

Copetti joins an attacking group that the three players lead, but also includes some MLS veterans (Andrey Shinyashiki And Yordi Rina) plus a pair of signatures from the U22 initiative: Kerwin Vargas And Vinicius Milo. That helped inform the club of seeking a key striker in place of Young DP, then too He sold striker Daniel Rios to Chivas of Liga MX Last month.

“Vini Melo is a talented Brazilian who is only 20 years old,” said Carnita. “We wanted someone a little older. We didn’t want to pick someone who was 21 or 22. We wanted more experience in this team. Last year we lacked a little bit of experience, proper professionals who weren’t bothered by anything.”

Westwood fit

Charlotte’s other major signing this off-season came via a veteran midfielder Ashley Westwood, and arrives on a free transfer from now-English Championship (Second Division) club Burnley. Experience is something he has a lot of.

The 32-year-old made 286 Premier League appearances, including 28 during the 2021-22 season until an ankle fracture ended his season. Westwood returned to training in December with Burnley, played in two closed friendlies, and was a full participant at the start of Charlotte’s pre-camp.

“In addition to young players, you have to have leaders,” said Karnita. “We lost one on the pitch with Christian Fuchs – although we kept him as manager – but we needed a boost in leadership in the squad. Ashley is just that. He has made nearly 300 Premier League appearances and is a universally beloved player. Since joining us, I got a lot of calls from players about it.”

Westwood will likely play an important role this season alongside Brandt Brunico in midfield with Derek Jonesand Santos f Ben Bandar They all compete for minutes as well.

“[Westwood] Krneta said. “He can play No. 6 or No. 8 and he’s a set-piece specialist. That’s something we need too. He has a great understanding of the game.”

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