Charlotte FC found itself with a Jekyll and Hyde situation in Miguel Ángel Ramírez.
State of play: Few on the outside saw last week’s Ramírez firing coming. He appeared honest, thoughtful and kind to fans and media.
- “I feel that the strong connection we have built together these months goes far beyond a contract,” Ramírez said in a social media post thanking fans.
But the connection he spoke of didn’t exist for all of his players.
Why it matters: Charlotte fired their inaugural head coach less than halfway through their inaugural season. Ramírez was supposed to bring an energetic and entertaining style of play. Instead it was one of constant fluctuation, which players found frustrating.
What’s happening: Charlotte FC captain and defender Christian Fuchs said Tuesday during a press conference that “there were certain fractures between us and the coaching staff” and that players weren’t really buying into what Ramírez was trying to achieve stylistically.
Fuchs, the first player to openly address the media since Ramírez’s departure, shed much needed light onto a cloudy situation surrounding Ramírez’s departure.
Fuchs said players, over time, brought up more serious concerns about Ramírez to him.
- “I did not get the sense of Miguel being willing to address them,” Fuchs said.
So Fuchs said he started trying to help his teammates himself, because it felt pointless to bring issues up to Ramírez.
Charlotte FC promoted Christian Lattanzio from assistant coach to interim head coach for the rest of the season. Goalkeeper coach Andy Quy is only other member of the coaching staff to remain with the team.
- Ramírez may have gotten the credit for Charlotte’s five wins at home and draw on the road, but Fuchs said it was Lattanzio who spent time working with players outside of training.
Between the lines: The air at training seemed lighter. Fuchs, who witnessed it all from the sidelines while he nurses an ankle injury, described players approaching Tuesday’s session with “relief.”
- “My ankle is still bothering me, but I had time to look at faces. I had time to look at the players,” Fuchs said.
- Plus everyone seemed to be there, including owner David Tepper, sporting director Zoran Krneta, technical director Bobby Belair and club president Joe LaBue.
Fuchs added they “lacked intensity in training” under Ramírez, which impacted their fitness. “In this league, you need to be fit,” he said.
What’s next: Charlotte FC hosts New York Red Bulls on June 11. They’re still seeking their first road win.
- “What the team needs is confidence,” Fuchs said. “Confidence especially away from home. We have our fans at Bank of America Stadium which makes us move mountains, but to be a contender, you need to get those points away from home.”
The big picture: Questions linger for Charlotte FC surrounding the fate of their portion of the Eastland Mall redevelopment. It’s still set to be their academy headquarters.
- The team still doesn’t have a permanent training facility, making their way between Bank of America Stadium and the Sportsplex at Matthews.
- Plus their owner real estate holding company is filling for bankruptcy to kill the Rock Hill project for a new Carolina Panthers practice facility and headquarters, and Tepper Sports and Entertainment executives seem to be passing through a revolving door as of late.