Match Preview

Match Preview: Charlotte FC at New England Revolution


CLTFC has an even 2-2-2 record this season, including impressive home results over some of the best sides in the Eastern Conference.

Now, the team faces the New England Revolution in a good opportunity to record their first away win of the season.

Match: Charlotte FC at New England Revolution

When: Saturday, April 6

Where: Gillette Stadium

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV – How to Watch & Listen

Listen: WFNZ 92.7 FM (English) & WOLS 106.1 FM (Spanish)

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Winning Away from Home

So far this season, Charlotte FC has secured incredible results at home, including wins over NYCFC and defending MLS Cup Champions Columbus Crew, and a draw with defending Supporter’s Shield champions FC Cincinnati.

Away from home, though, CLTFC has not picked up the same number of points (despite some impressive performances). They have secured only one draw to go with two losses. With a trip to Massachusetts up next to face a struggling New England Revolution side, there is pressure on the team to figure out their road performances.

In Major League Soccer, a league with a huge footprint and long travel, it has long been considered very difficult to pick up road results – arguably more so here than in other leagues around the world.

However, Head Coach Dean Smith disagrees with that sentiment:

“The big thing for me is the change of mentality. And that’s been one of the biggest surprises for me [since arriving in MLS]: that I think everybody believes that it’s so hard to get points on the road. I’m not necessarily in that seat.

“I’ve traveled to Vancouver, to Toronto, and to Nashville. And I don’t think any of those journeys have resulted in us not getting the results on the day. I think some of the decisions we’ve made on the day are the reasons we haven’t gotten the win.”

Saturday’s away match, then, should be a good test of this mentality Smith referenced. He also added some spice to the matchup towards the end of the press conference after New England Head Coach Caleb Porter’s pre-match comments promising a win were shared with him.

“Maybe he shouldn’t make promises he might not be able to keep.”

Smith mostly referred to the fact that coaches have an influence on the outcome of matches, but ultimately, they can’t control all the other variables: players, referees, the weather, etc.

He continued by saying, “[That’s] not a great statement to make if that’s down to your team and not something that you can actually keep.”

Regardless of intent from either side, both coaches have now had their say and stirred up social media. On Saturday, the players will have the final say on the pitch.


The Opponent

The New England Revolution have struggled so far this season. In MLS play, they have four losses and one draw. In Concacaf Champions Cup, they were just played off their home pitch by Club America in a 4-0 loss in the first leg of their Quarterfinal match.

However, recent results aren’t always indicative of future performance. Smith and the team certainly are not taking this Revolution team lightly.

“We have to be wary, because I watched them in the build up to our Toronto game,” said Smith. “I think they played Toronto in their second game and they were by far the better team on the day, but lost one-nil. I think it was something like 24 shots on the day.

“So, we have to be very, very careful that we don’t take anything for granted.”

New England have one of the league’s best players in 2021 MVP Carles Gil. The attacking midfielder has the capability to win games completely on his own at times, making preparation very similar to the preparation for Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta.

Overall, the margins of error in MLS are very thin. Charlotte FC will need to take New England very seriously to take a valuable three points away from home by eliminating room for error with a ruthless performance.


The Season So Far

Charlotte FC won their first match of the season over NYCFC with a gritty 1-0 win at home. They then faced three consecutive games on the road, securing a 1-1 draw in Vancouver before tight losses to Toronto (1-0) and Nashville (2-1).

Upon finally returning to Bank of America Stadium, the team impressively downed the defending MLS Cup Champions, the Columbus Crew, by a 2-0 score. Ashley Westwood and Patrick Agyemang scored dramatic late goals – in the 83rd and 88th minutes, respectively – to power the team to the victory. They also secured a valuable, if disappointing, 1-1 draw against FC Cincinnati, the defending Supporter’s Shield Champions.

Now, CLTFC is back on the road and looking for their first win of the season away from home.