20220319_CLT_Preview

MLS Regular Season | Match #4
New England Revolution at Charlotte FC
Saturday, March 19 | 7 p.m. ET
Bank of America Stadium | Charlotte, N.C.

Watch: WSBK-TV38, myRITV (Rhode Island), CoziTV (Western Mass.)
- Talent: Brad Feldman (play-by-play), Clyde Simms (analyst)
Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub (English), 1260 AM Nossa Radio (Portuguese)

CURRENT FORM

New England Revolution
9th in Eastern Conference (1-1-1, 4 pts.)
Last Result | 3-0 loss at Pumas UNAM (CCL Quarterfinals)

Saturday night’s first-ever meeting with expansion side Charlotte FC will close out a hectic stretch for the Revolution, playing their fifth game in just 15 days and their sixth in 22 days to open the season. It’s an opportunity for the Revs to bounce back following two agonizing losses within the past week, seeing a late 2-0 lead slip away in a 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake before their 3-0 aggregate advantage over Pumas UNAM was overturned in a penalty shootout loss in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals.

After cramming several games into the season’s first few weeks, an international break will provide a bit of respite following this weekend’s trip to Mint City. Following their meeting with Charlotte the Revs will have a two-week break before their next match, a home meeting with the New York Red Bulls on April 2.

Charlotte FC
13th in Eastern Conference (0-3-0, 0 pts.)
Last Result | 2-1 loss at Atlanta United FC

Charlotte FC remain in search of their first-ever point following last weekend’s painful loss to regional foe Atlanta United FC. The MLS newcomers did break through for their first-ever goal – a second-half header from North Carolina native Adam Armour – but Jake Mulraney broke Charlotte FC hearts with a 96th-minute winner for the hosts, leaving the expansion side with three losses from their first three MLS games.

Now, however, Charlotte return home for just their second game at Bank of America Stadium. The first was quite the spectacle, drawing 74,479 fans to set an MLS record for a standalone crowd, and while it was the visiting LA Galaxy who claimed a 1-0 win on the night, it was a memorable evening for the Carolinians. The crowd isn’t expected to approach 75,000 on Saturday night, but it’ll no doubt provide a boost for the hosts.

KEY PLAYERS

Revolution defender DeJuan Jones
Left back DeJuan Jones has followed up a breakout 2021 campaign with an equally eye-catching start to the 2022 season, registering an assist in the season-opening 2-2 draw with Portland before terrorizing Pumas UNAM in the first leg of the CCL Quarterfinals at Gillette Stadium. The 24-year-old also buried a penalty in the Revolution’s eventual shootout loss to Pumas this past Wednesday night in Mexico City.

With the hosts desperate to score their first home goal and secure their first point in front of the home crowd, Jones could play a key role on Saturday night in not only limiting Charlotte’s attack, but also in exploiting any potential space on the counter.

Charlotte midfielder Ben Bender
The first overall pick in this year’s MLS SuperDraft, midfielder Ben Bender made his first start last weekend in Atlanta and made an immediate impact for Charlotte FC. The 21-year-old registered the first assist in club history when his corner kick found the head of Adam Armour, while Bender ranks second on the team with four key passes through three games, despite ranking 12th in minutes played (120).

Bender lined up on the left wing last weekend in Atlanta and following his confident showing, may well be in line for another start on Saturday night against the Revs.

STATUS REPORT

Revolution
The center back duo of Andrew Farrell (upper leg) and Henry Kessler (muscle injury) both missed the midweek trip to Mexico City and both are listed as questionable ahead of the weekend, while goalkeeper Matt Turner (lower leg) also remains questionable having missed the season’s first five games in all competitions.

Saturday’s game will be the Revolution’s fifth in just 15 days, and while the midweek match at altitude was taxing physically, assistant coach Dave van den Bergh said the Revs will be ready for the challenge in Charlotte.

“The fitness I would say is pretty good,” said van den Bergh. “I don't think that there's a question that it's difficult to play in altitude in Mexico City. That's just a known fact. It's not just our team that had to deal with that. It's every team that is not used to playing in altitude has to deal with, especially in Mexico City, but I feel like we're ready to go again on Saturday.

“As far as rotations go, we haven't really made a decision as to who's playing yet. We're still trying to figure out how everybody is coming out of this past week, past the travel and who's ready to go, but I can assure you that whoever steps on that field will be ready to play.”

Charlotte
The hosts will be without a pair of young players on Saturday night, with both 19-year-old forward Vinicius Mello and 20-year-old midfielder Chris Hegardt listed as out for Charlotte’s meeting with the Revs. MLS veteran Yordy Reyna, meanwhile, is listed as questionable, having started the first two games of the season before missing last weekend’s loss to Atlanta.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

New England Revolution assistant coach Dave van den Bergh
“The next challenge now becomes how do we deal with a little bit of adversity? Are we going to let this define us? And let me give you the answer – no, it doesn't. It shouldn't, and so we're here to prove that we're still the Revs of last season as far as that goes and yeah, challenges, but challenges are there to be overcome, so hopefully we can do just that.”

New England Revolution midfielder Matt Polster
“As a younger player you have to move past things quickly. Even for me, it’s tough at times. Obviously, that was a disappointing result. We wanted to move further in that competition, and we had a great chance to do that. We weren’t up to the task. For the group itself, even the young guys, you have to now shift your focus quickly to a game against Charlotte which will be extremely difficult. They’re looking for their first win of the season. I don’t know what the fans will look like, but I’m sure they’re going to have a pretty sold-out crowd again. It’s going to be another great atmosphere and we’re going to need to be up for it because this will be a tough team.”