Thursday, March 23

First-year Charlotte FC sets MLS crowd record in home debut

CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) — Charlotte FC made a record-breaking home debut Saturday night, setting a Major League Soccer attendance mark of 74,479 in a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy.

Fans dressed in the team’s light, blue colors and wearing FC Charlotte scarves celebrated the team’s first game at Bank of America Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers since 1996.

There were 69,522 there on Sept. 1, 1996, to watch Carolina’s first regular-season game — a 29-6 win over Atlanta. This long, anticipated MLS game shattered that mark.

Things didn’t go as well on the field for Charlotte FC, who fell as Galaxy substitute midfielder Efrain Alvarez struck a hard shot from outside the box into the upper right corner in the 77th minute.

Charlotte FC (0-2-0) had a chance to tie in the final minute of stoppage time, but Daniel Rios’ header close to the goal off a cross from Alan Franco was stopped by LA Galaxy’s Jonathan Bond.

The Galaxy have won both their games to start the season.

Still, the loss didn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm as they stood and cheered at the end, much the way they did at the start.

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