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Five things to know when m Sounders host Charlotte FC

This is the first-ever meeting.

SOCCER: MAY 22 MLS - Vancouver Whitecaps at Charlotte FC Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Sounders are finally back at Lumen Field this weekend following two consecutive away matches. They managed to pick up 3 of 6 points in those two matches and will look to improve on that by moving up the congested Western Conference table through the month of June. Here are five things you need to know about Sunday’s match:

Home games galore

The Sounders have played a ridiculous amount of soccer through the past few months. 20 matches since the middle of February, which is not just four more than anyone else but a franchise record for this point in the calendar. Eight of those matches were played en route to their CCL win, leaving a hefty matches-played deficit to make up in league play. Luckily for the Sounders, they have a massive stretch of home games through the entire month of June to gain some serious traction. It all begins against Charlotte this weekend, the first of consecutive home games.

International break looms

FIFA’s upcoming international window begins on Monday, which means a handful of Sounders will be called to represent their home countries. Luckily the Sounders do not have any scheduled matches to be played until the final day of the window, June 14 against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The time gap between the Charlotte match and the Vancouver match is over two weeks, so it’s safe to assume the Sounders will throw their most ideal XI on the field against Charlotte this weekend.

First cross-country away day for the visitors

Charlotte FC does not have a ton of experience in MLS considering 2022 is their inaugural season in the league. They have played a grand total of 16 matches in their entire existence. It has — and will continue to be — a season of firsts for the North Carolina-based franchise. This weekend’s matchup against the Sounders will be the first trip to the West Coast for this extremely young Charlotte team, and if all goes according to plan for the Sounders, they will prevent it from being a successful one.

On top of their inexperience, Charlotte have some key absences for the match this weekend. Most notably, DP Karol Swiderski will be unavailable for selection against the Sounders as a result of his early departure to the Polish national team. Additionally, EPL winner and Austria international Christian Fuchs is currently listed as questionable with a right thigh injury.

Over-performing Charlotte squad

Going into their inaugural season, nobody expected this Charlotte team to perform as well as they have been. Their own fans will be the first to tell you that. Head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez stated in a pre-season interview that his team was “screwed”, which didn’t exactly instill much confidence in the team from the fans. Fortunately for them, Charlotte’s 16 points leave them only two points below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand on Inter Miami and FC Cincinnati. Ramirez has built his team with experience and youth, with both domestic talent and talent from abroad, and most importantly with a playstyle that his players understand and appreciate. It hasn’t been perfect, but there is serious promise.

End Gun Violence

Following the tragic events that occurred in Uvalde, Texas this week, the Sounders will be making a stand against gun violence this weekend. The Sounders will be wearing orange in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Day during warm-ups, as well as displaying special messaging ahead of kick-off. This will include a pre-match photo with an “End Gun Violence” banner in corroboration with Charlotte FC.