Charlotte FC will face a severely depleted Vancouver lineup on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium.
The match will be on ESPN+ and broadcast on WAXN in English and Telemundo in Spanish locally (WFNZ 610AM/92.7FM radio).
The Whitecaps enter the weekend without any healthy first-team goalkeepers available for the Major League Soccer matchup against expansion side Charlotte FC, which is aiming to recover from last weekend’s 2-0 loss against CF Montréal at home.
Vancouver’s usual starter Thomas Hasal is questionable due to a middle finger injury (listed unavailable as of Friday), and the team announced Friday that goalkeepers Isaac Boehmer and Cody Cropper, as well as midfielder Pedro Vite and defender Jake Nerwinski, were placed in the league’s health and safety protocols.
To fill its keeper position, Vancouver signed Niko Giantsopoulos from York United FC to an MLS Short-Term Agreement through the weekend and added academy goalkeeper Max Anchor on an MLS Homegrown pre-contract and MLS Short-Term Agreement.
Tristan Blackmon (right knee sprain), Caio Alexandre (left hand fracture) and Lucas Cavallini (yellow card accumulation) are also unavailable Sunday.
For Charlotte (4-7-1), which sits 10th of 14 teams in the Eastern Conference, the matchup will be a chance to capitalize on an advantage against a team facing roster challenges that sits last in the Western Conference (3-6-2) and is coming off a mid-week game. Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Ángel Ramírez said earlier this week that he considers every game “must-win” and this weekend is no different.
“I work always to prepare the games for my players to win, so I always say, ‘How can I help my players to win this game?’ This is always my mentality, my thought,” Ramírez said. “I always face every single game (like this), I don’t care who’s in front.”
Charlotte FC’s Vinicius Mello (left foot surgery), Chris Hegardt (left knee surgery) and Adam Armour (left knee surgery) remain listed as out this weekend, but Mello and Hegardt have been working into training with the team. Winger Yordy Reyna (left thigh injury) and goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega (concussion) are also listed as out. Captain defender Christian Fuchs was questionable last week due to a right thigh injury, but Ramírez said Friday that he thought Fuchs would be ready.
Another item to watch during the match is midfielder Brandt Bronico’s yellow cards. If he gets one more on Sunday, he’ll be suspended for a game. Forward Kerwin Vargas also arrived for Charlotte FC last week, and though he’ll likely to take more time to learn the team’s game model and work into the lineup, he’ll should soon provide a valuable boost to the front line as a player who can slot into both wings and center forward role.
“He is very aggressive attacking the spaces,” Ramírez said of Vargas. “That is something we are missing in the squad. Having this aggressiveness to attack space inside or outside.”
WHAT CHANNEL IS CHARLOTTE FC ON?
Charlotte, NC: WAXN, Telemundo
Greenville-N.Bern-Washgtn, NC: WITN-D2
Raleigh-Durham, NC: WNGT
Columbia, SC: WIS
Charleston, SC: WCIV
Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: WLOS-D2
Myrtle Beach-Florence, SC: EPDE
HOW TO LISTEN TO CHARLOTTE FC ON THE RADIO
You can listen to the match on sports radio WFNZ 610AM/92.7FM. The on-air talent will be Will Palaszczuk (play-by-play) and Jessica Charman (analyst).
The on-air talent for WAXN broadcasts in English will be Eric Krakauer (play-by-play), Lloyd Sam (analyst) and Katie Witham (sideline). The on-air talent for Telemundo broadcasts in Spanish will be Jaime Moreno (play-by-play) and Antonio Ramos (analyst).