Karol Swiderski Show sees Charlotte FC record first MLS win

By Mike Rice.

Charlotte FC are next to the plate in Major League Soccer. Their first win came triumphantly at home against the New England Revolution, much to the delight of their supporters.

It was an electric start from Charlotte who took the lead in the fifth minute when Designated Player Karol Swiderski turned and fired to the edge of the box after an impressive build-up play.

The Designated Player was up and running, giving his team confidence that they had the right centre-forward for this difficult expansion season.

Nine minutes into the second half, Carles Gil equalized New England from the penalty spot, but it was Swiderski who regained the lead for Charlotte. Again, finishing powerfully with his left foot, this time inside the penalty area from a reduction of SuperDraft pick Ben Bender.

Bender himself set the clock by finishing in the top corner with his right foot inside the box on a breakaway goal.

A goal and assist for Bender will no doubt be fantastic for his development and confidence after being drafted first in the SuperDraft by Charlotte, who sees a big future for the midfielder.

Manager Miguel Ángel Ramírez will be happy to get that first win so comprehensively and early in the campaign after claiming his side were ‘screwed’ ahead of their opener due to signing issues.

The $5 million DP Swiderski had his MLS impact on this performance, with his powerful running and physical presence on the front row. He worked hard throughout and showed with his performance why he was brought in to lead this expansion team.

There may be things to watch out for though, with his attitude towards Bender being concerning during the match.

After 33 minutes, Bender did incredibly well on the goal line to keep the ball in play under pressure and clipped the ball to continue an attack. New England struggled to deal with it and Bender managed to win the ball back to try and fire into the corner, but it was picked up by Earl Edwards Junior in the New England goal.

Swiderski was also running on the shot, and as Bender fired, he was fierce with his anger at the younger player, turning and running towards Bender, which made his frustration clear.

After his second goal, assisted by Bender, the young midfielder tried to join in the fun and was ignored by the striker despite the assist he provided.

These frustrations can happen in football, but one of the key problems with expansion teams is often creating a team from a whole bunch of new players.

Swiderski was brought in with plenty of money and is clearly confident in his ability for the league. Rightly so too, and it’s important that your DP and center forward believe in themselves, but it’s important that your experienced players support those new to the senior game.

Bender then scored the third and showed no signs of worry, maybe it was just something that was born out of desperation for a first win to get rid of the monkey.

The win will give them the confidence to carry on and compete throughout the season, and getting such a big scalp so soon will delight everyone involved at the club.

New England weren’t in their best form, but Charlotte deserves credit for the win. Ramirez can now look forward to hosting in-form Cincinnati next week – a much tougher challenge than they predicted a few weeks ago.


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