CHARLOTTE – A two-goal game from Charlotte FC Designated Player Karol Swiderski highlighted a banner night for the Queen City’s MLS team, as they earned the club’s first-ever victory, 3-1, over New England Revolution Saturday night.
Swiderski brought a crowd of 29,318 to their feet early with his sixth-minute strike from his left foot, his first MLS goal. Charlotte’s first regular-season lead lasted until the 54th minute, when New England’s Carles Gil converted a kick from the penalty spot. Gil, the reigning MLS MVP, earned the penalty when referee Marcos DeOlivera awarded CLTFC goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina a yellow-card for an illegal slide tackle on a breakaway in the 18-yard box.
The deadlock didn’t last long, however, as Swiderski’s second goal came just three minutes later on a Charlotte counter. Charlotte FC rookie Ben Bender, who assisted on Swiderski’s second tally, scored his first professional goal in the 64th minute to put the icing on the cake.
Charlotte FC Head Coach Miguel Angel Ramirez was happy he could finally provide a reward for his team that failed to gain a result in its first three matches.
“They deserved it; they deserved it so much. It made me sad in not being able to provide them with victories or with goals,” Ramirez said. “So much in the games at home and away, the fans who bought tickets, I’ve been a fan before, and I know what it is to suffer. It was such joy; they deserved it.”
Much of Charlotte’s narrative through the early part of the season was that of misfortune. Goals resulting from questionable calls, ricohets off defenders, and world class strikes left CLTFC wondering when the worm would turn. Ramirez believed that Saturday was the sign of the law of averages evening things out.
“I understood that the best way to compete is to take advantage of the great energy between New England and Charlotte FC,” Ramirez said. “We made history, and today was a good day in football. It was great for Karol, knowing he did a massive strike. Like I was telling a friend, sometimes you need that luck.”
Ramirez found the evening as one of his most gratifying with his young group.
“Being a coach is so difficult, and being a professional player is also very difficult. But I believe we pay the price for nights like tonight, to enjoy playing football. Goals, celebrations, fans. We are very deserving,” Ramirez said.
Charlotte FC (1-2-0, 3 pts) plays the second half of its two-game homestand on Saturday night hosting FC Cincinnati (2-2-0, 6 pts). Coverage begins on Sports Radio WFNZ (AM 610/92.7 FM) at 4:30 PM with first kick just after 5 PM.