CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The New England Revolution (1-0-0, 3 pts.) opened the 2023 Major League Soccer season with a 1-0 win on the road against Charlotte FC (0-1-0, 0 pts.) on Saturday night. Henry Kessler notched the game winner in the 89th minute to secure New England’s first season-opening victory since 2013. Goalkeeper Djordje Petrović, a finalist for the 2022 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year awards, made four saves en route to his eighth career MLS clean sheet in just 22 games with the Revolution.
Dave Romney and Bobby Wood, two of New England’s offseason acquisitions, made their Revolution debuts in the match. Romney, acquired in a January trade with Nashville SC, started and played the full 90 minutes. Wood, a former United States international selected by New England in the 2022 MLS Re-Entry Draft, entered the match in the 63rd minute replacing Giacomo Vrioni. Vrioni opened his second MLS campaign with the start, as did Colombian winger Dylan Borrero, who logged a team-high three shots.
Kessler broke the deadlock in the 89th minute, making a run down the right flank to slot home his fourth-career goal with a right-footed shot. Kessler had a golden chance to tally in the 61st minute, heading a cross from Buck off the post. Charlotte also struck the woodwork, with Kerwin Vargas coming inches from equalizing at the death for the hosts.
Noel Buck and Damian Rivera, 17 and 20 respectively, each started Saturday’s contest, marking the first time two Homegrown Players to start a season opener for the Revolution since 2020.
New England opens the home portion of its 2023 MLS schedule on Saturday, March 4, when the Revolution welcome Houston Dynamo FC to Gillette Stadium. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app. Saturday’s match can also be heard on the radio on 98.5 The Sports Hub, with Brad Feldman and Charlie Davies calling the action, and on 1260 AM Nossa Radio in Portuguese.
- New England defeated Charlotte FC 1-0, marking the third straight year the Revolution have secured at least a point in their season opener. The victory was New England’s first in a season opener since 2013 (1-0 at Chicago).
- Bruce Arena earned his 251st regular-season victory, improving to 49-27-35 with the Revolution – one win shy of becoming the third coach to reach 50 with the club.
- The victory was New England’s 22nd road win since Arena took over as Sporting Director & Head Coach on June 2, 2019 – the most in MLS over that span.
- Henry Kessler tallied the opening goal of the season for New England – his fourth career goal – while notching a team-high eight clearances.
- Djordje Petrović recorded his eighth clean sheet in 22 matches with the Revolution, moving him into a tie with Walter Zenga for seventh-most shutouts in club history. The Serbian finished the evening with four saves.
- Noel Buck and Damian Rivera both earned spots in the Starting XI, the first time New England has started two Homegrown Players in the season opener since 2020 (Diego Fagundez & Scott Caldwell).
- Rivera set a career high with nine duels won, a team best on the night, putting in a 63-minute shift for his 15th career MLS appearance.
- Buck registered team highs in interceptions (4) and tackles won (3), also creating one chance – Kessler’s shot off the woodwork.
- Matt Polster created three chances on the night, his highest single-game total with the Revolution.
- Offseason acquisitions Dave Romney and Bobby Wood both made their club debuts on Saturday, with Romney starting and playing 90 minutes and Wood logging 27 minutes off the bench.
- Dylan Borrero notched a team-high three shots, with one on target, while also blocking two shots and winning six duels.
New England Revolution 1, Charlotte FC 0
February 25, 2023 – Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)
Referee: Rubiel Vazquez
Assistant Referees: Kali Smith (AR1), Justin Howard (AR2)
Fourth Official: Malik Badawi
Video Assistant Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Robert Schaap
Weather: 50 degrees and cloudy
NE – Henry Kessler 1 (Unassisted) 89’
NE – Henry Kessler (Yellow Card – Tactical Foul) 26’
CLT – Nathan Byrne (Yellow Card – Bad Foul) 28’
New England Revolution: Djordje Petrović; DeJuan Jones, Dave Romney, Henry Kessler, Brandon Bye; Noel Buck, Matt Polster; Dylan Borrero (Omar Gonzalez 90’+3), Carles Gil ©, Damian Rivera (Justin Rennicks 63’); Giacomo Vrioni (Bobby Wood 64’).
Substitutes Not Used: Earl Edwards Jr., Esmir Bajraktarević, Latif Blessing, Emmanuel Boateng, Joshua Bolma, Christian Makoun.
Charlotte FC: Pablo Sisniega; Nathan Byrne, Bill Tuiloma, Joseph Mora, Adilson Malanda; Kamil Józwiak (Kerwin Vargas 64’), Ashley Westwood ©, Brandt Bronico; McKinze Gaines (Andre Shinyashiki 76’), Enzo Copetti, Karol Świderski.
Substitutes Not Used: George Marks, Harrison Afful, Ben Bender, Derrick Jones, Jaylin Lindsey, Nuno Santos, Jan Sobocinski.
Full statistics available HERE.