Anticipation builds ahead of Charlotte FC match against Inter Miami

CHARLOTTE — There’s a lot of excitement and buzz around Charlotte FC’s next match, and it centers around the chance that Lionel Messi could play.

But in addition to the hype, the Saturday game will also be decision day for Charlotte FC. They still have a shot at making the playoffs in just their second season. In order to do that, the home team has to win this match.

Charlotte FC just played Inter Miami two days ago, the outcome of which was a draw. So not only do they need to win this game, they also need at least two other teams to either lose or draw.

The teams to watch are CF Montréal, the New York Red Bulls, and Chicago Fire FC.

And of course there’s Messi, by far one of the most talented players of all time. This week, he all but confirmed he will play in Charlotte.

It sets up an incredible atmosphere Saturday with at least 60,000 fans cheering on the crown -- and for many, the GOAT.

“I think that every team that plays against Messi is going to have that. We need to be focused on our supporters, we want to do well for them,” said Charlotte FC head coach Christian Lattanzio. “We will accept and respect that they cheer (on) Messi, because of what he has achieved in his career and the quality of player that he is. But we have to be focused on us, our game, our supporters.”

For the record, Charlotte FC faced Inter Miami with Messi before -- this summer during the Leagues Cup. Charlotte FC lost.

Coach Lattanzio said his club isn’t the same one they faced then, and they’re a lot better now.

(WATCH PREVIOUS: Tickets skyrocket for Lionel Messi’s trip to Charlotte FC)

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