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Charlotte FC Carolina Explore Kit

Source: Charlotte FC / Charlotte FC

Charlotte FC officially returns to the pitch for the first time since last October’s loss in the opening game of the MLS Cup Playoffs to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening when they welcome NYCFC to Bank of America Stadium.

The squad will be hoping to build off of a strong preseason trip out to the West Coast for the Coachella Valley Invitational where the team went 3-0-3, an impressive record especially for a team that lost so much in the offseason. New head coach Dean Smith will roll out a group that won’t be nearly as experienced as the one that left the pitch in New Jersey at the end of last year, but one that should be much more competitive than experts think they will.

One of the leaders of the side, midfielder Ashley Westwood, the man who will wear the captain’s armband this season, dropped by with the Mac & Bone Show on Tuesday and discussed where he feels feels the team stands after their preseason success.

“The ​new ​gaffer ​has ​come ​in ​and ​he’s ​set ​us ​up. ​We ​look ​hard ​to ​beat ​now, which ​gives ​you ​a ​good ​foundation. ​If ​you ​go ​into ​a ​game ​knowing ​you ​can ​keep ​clean ​sheets, ​you ​just ​have ​to ​nick ​one ​goal. ​That’s one thing ​he ​has ​changed. ​When ​you ​look ​at ​preseason, ​we’ve ​looked ​very ​comfortable ​in ​our ​game. ​It’s ​been ​a ​very ​positive ​preseason ​and ​I’m ​excited ​for ​Saturday ​now.”

Listen to Westwood full interview with Mac & Bone from earlier today and be sure to tune in to WFNZ on Saturday starting at 7:00 PM with the Charlotte FC pregame show before the game against NYCFC at 7:30 PM.