Playoff-bound! Charlotte FC beats Inter Miami, reaches first postseason

Fans celebrate after Saturday’s 1-0 win by Charlotte FC ovr Inter Miami. (Erik Verduzco / AP Photo)

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte FC delivered in a do-or-die game. Their reward was the franchise’s first postseason berth.

The second-year team got the 1-0 victory it needed over Inter Miami — along with help elsewhere in MLS — to claim one of the two remaining Eastern Conference playoff spots in a scramble of five teams. The Chicago Fire and CF Montreal lost earlier Saturday and that allowed Charlotte to clinch a playoff berth with a victory.

Kerwin Vargas’ goal in the 13th minute was enough to seal the historic victory, and Charlotte held Miami without a goal down the stretch in a season in which it has yielded many late-game goals.

Charlotte will finish the 2023 season second in league attendance after 66,101 attended the regular season finale. Charlotte FC was averaging 33,634 entering the game.

“I knew it was because (Lionel) Messi was in town,” Charlotte FC coach Christian Lattanzio said of the large crowd. “The more they come to see us they will see we can play toe-to-toe with the best in the world.

“I’m very, very proud of the boys. They have been working very, very hard.”