|Charlotte 49ers show confidence with 2-0 win vs. Furman|
|Callum Montgomery tallies penalty kick|
|Published Friday, August 31, 2018 11:00 pm|
Confidence looks good on the Charlotte 49ers.
Their 2-0 win against Furman puts them 2-0 to start the season.
Coach Kevin Langan emphasized his aspiration for “two goals and a clean sheet” in their 1-0 opener against Florida Gulf Coast. Tonight, he got just that, starting with a penalty from senior defender Callum Montgomery.
“He wants the responsibility,” Langan said of Montgomery, who scored three goals last season. “He wants to be the man. He has a great, courageous leadership about him.”
Said Montgomery: “Primarily I’m focused on getting those clean sheets, and taking care of our defensive efforts, but if I get the opportunity to step up and take a penalty, and they trust me, I’m going to do what I can to help the team.”
Charlotte’s 25 goals in 2017 marked the first time since Langan took over as head coach in 2012 that they scored less than 30 goals.
“Last year people struggled with confidence,” senior midfielder Tommy Madden said. “This year it’s kind of a different story. We’ve got new faces, new positions, and it’s a lot more positive than it kind of was last year.”
Madden is among those seeing time with different responsibilities at his position. Langan has asked him to press higher as an attacking midfielder, and it produced their second goal against Furman.
“Tommy is an incredibly athletic, mobile, technical player,” Langan said. “He’s a very good [attacking midfielder], box-to-box. He can play as a [holding midfielder], because he is very good on the ball. We thought this year we would push him a little bit further forward, and get him some chances in front of goal, because he is an excellent finisher. He must petrify defenders, because if he gets on the half turn in that little space in front of the center backs, he’s electric. No one can catch him.”
Madden scored three goals for the 49ers last season—tied for second behind senior striker Daniel Bruce. “The idea was through the spring that we would push Tommy a little bit further forward, just to give another option,” Langan said. “We have Maclean Holbrook [a junior striker] back from injury. We have Luke Vallone [a sophomore midfielder/striker], who is looking real fit. Preston Popp [freshman striker] has joined us. We have some really strong weapons.”
In addition to their troubles in the attacking third, last season’s 8-5-6 finish marked Charlotte’s first with fewer than 10 wins since 2006 (9-5-5).
“Last year we were perhaps a little bit thinner in front of goal, and we kept going back to the well with the same players,” Langan said.
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