Charlotte FC

Charlotte FC midfielder Alan Franco 'shocked' by the 'intensity' of MLS

Chris Smith
Franco has been adjusting well to life in MLS.
Franco has been adjusting well to life in MLS. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte FC midfielder Alan Franco has revealed how the intensity of Major League Soccer caught him off guard.

The Ecuador international is currently on loan from Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro, while he also has previous experience in his homeland with Independiente del Valle.

But even that wasn't enough to prepare Franco for the physical exertions of MLS - a league known for fast-paced matches and high-intensity pressing.

“The intensity shocked me from the first day; it’s something that you don’t have to deal with in any other league," Franco told reporters at a midweek press conference. "It is a very intense game; you have to defend and attack the whole time; in other leagues, you have more time with the ball, you can rest, but it’s very intense, and it’s like that for the full 90 minutes.”

Franco's early training sessions with Charlotte - Major League Soccer's latest club - were a test, but the 23-year-old is getting to grips with things now. In fact, his performance in Charlotte's 1-0 win over Atlanta United at the weekend was one of his strongest yet, ending the match on four tackles, five recoveries, one clearance, and one interception - as well as creating one chance and completing 33 of his 40 attempted passes.

“The first training I had, Miguel [Angel Ramirez] said I missed all the balls," Franco recalled. "I was used to a different team, and honestly, it surprised me, I didn’t think it would be so demanding initially with the intensity, and you don’t have so much time with the ball. Now I am good, it was new to me, but now I have gotten used to the league.”

Charlotte FC's latest win sees them climb above the Playoff line and into fifth in the Eastern Conference ahead of a four-game away stretch against the New England Revolution, Greenville Triumph (US Open Cup), Colorado Rapids, and Orlando City.