Charlotte FC captures first win in franchise history in thrilling fashion against New England Revolution

By Jonathan Lee 

March 20, 2022

Photo: Charlotte FC 

It was a night of firsts for Charlotte’s newest professional sports team.

Charlotte FC rode a quality first half of play and the skillful striking of Karol Swiderski to the franchise’s first victory in Major League Soccer, a 3-1 win over last year’s regular season champions, the New England Revolution. 

Charlotte started poorly in their previous three matches, but came out intending to control the match early against a New England team who had just played at over 7.000 feet of elevation in Mexico three days prior in the Concacaf Champions League. Scoring in the game’s sixth minute. Swiderski, the club’s first Designated Player signing, took a pass from Alan Franco and sent a left footed blast past the diving New England goalkeeper giving Charlotte, and its rabid fan base, the early lead they so coveted. 

New England battled back, denying Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijian Kahlina a shutout (or clean sheet in soccer parlance) when Kahlina came too far out of his goal, committing a foul that would give the Revolution a penalty kick opportunity. Carles Gil scored easily, tying the match early in the second half. 

Charlotte FC didn’t let New England get any closer, and Swiderski wasn’t done scoring goals. Just three minutes after the Revolution tied the game, Swiderski once again showed the club why they invested so heavily in him, taking a pass from Ben Bender, going top net high to take a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute.

After allowing a late goal to Atlanta last week, nerves in the stands were frayed, hoping to not concede another crushing goal and missing out on a chance to celebrate a win at home. Charlotte FC’s coveted No. 1 draft pick Ben Bender made sure the fans and supporters would go home happy. Midfielder Jordy Alcivar, seeing his first game action of the season, broke away in front of the New England net, drawing three defenders to him, dropping off a pass that Bender would not miss, torching the back of the goal and giving the home team what would be an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the game’s 64th minute. Bender capped his first ever MLS goal with a karate kick of the sideline marker. 

“We pay the price [in training] for nights like tonight,” said head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez post-match. “Goals, celebrations, fans, we deserve it because of the work we are doing, the way we are playing.”

When the final whistle blew, and Charlotte FC had their first win, and emotions flowed, as players and team staff celebrated with flag waving fans and supporters. 

Charlotte FC still hasn’t had their full cast of players. Injuries, in season trades and International player signings continue to evolve a roster that remains in flux. But for one night, everything came together for their first win in franchise history. An evening that will certainly be remembered for years to come. 

Charlotte FC returns to Bank of America Stadium on Saturday, March 26 against FC Cincinnati at 5 p.m. The match will air on WSOC-TV and Telemundo Charlotte. 

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