Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez admitted the club is 'screwed' ahead of their inaugural match on February 26 against D.C. United after facing roster setbacks.
The team originally set its sights on reaching the MLS Cup playoffs during their first year in the league, a goal Ramirez reveals will be 'very difficult' to attain given the circumstances.
“We need to reinforce the squad,” said the Spaniard. “We need to have something else to be more competitive."
“Let's wait and see how the roster-building finishes,” he said later when asked in Spanish what should be expected of his new squad. “When we finish that, I will answer that question and tell you how I see things. Right now, we're screwed.”
It’s no secret the club has faced several challenges before kicking off.
Charlotte was outbid in the pursuit of USMNT winger Paul Arriola, who ultimately signed with FC Dallas for a league-record package worth more than $2m in allocation money and other assets. A deal Nick Kelly claimed 'couldn’t be justified matching in any scenario.'
Then, the team agreed to terms with Derby County’s Polish winger Kamil Jozwiak before the player picked up a lengthy injury, prompting the deal to fall through completely.
The expansion side tried again with Venezuelan winger Darwin Machis, but reports quickly emerged that the $6m Designated Player contract fell apart due to legal issues in Spain.
Beyond transfer troubles, the current team has been plagued with injuries.
“Now I am focused with the players that I have, preparing the trainings, preparing the friendlies, preparing the team to compete. So it is what I have, this is the group I have and I want to work with them and I want to put my focus on them.
“It's the sporting director's job, it's the chief of scouting, the scouting department's job to be looking for these players. It's not my job anymore. I was helping the club [in that area] before because I had no work on the pitch. But now my focus is this work” admitted Ramirez.
The team is set to make their Major League Soccer debut on February 26 at Audi Field against D.C. United before hosting their first ever game on March 5.