"If you miss your chances, they don't forgive you." Charlotte FC falls to New England 2-1
By Steve Goldberg
In a season that will be full of firsts, Charlotte FC's first road win will have to wait at least another week after the New England Revolution survived a late rush by the Crown to win 2-1.
A Polish national team striker hit the net first but to the dismay of Charlotte supporters, it was not Karol Swiderski but the Rev's 6'3" Adam Buksa who rose between defenders to score with a header on a cross from Brandon Bye only eight minutes into the match.
It was the 278th MLS win for Revs coach Bruce Arena and broke a four-game MLS losing streak, the longest in his career since 1996. His DC United team lost their first four games but went on to win the first MLS Cup that season. To put it in temporal perspective, Buksa was born in July 1996.
Charlotte had won three of its last four games, all of the victories coming at home. The loss came away to Philadelphia, this season's top team so far.
Asked whether he has a different approach to road games versus those at home, Charlotte coach Miguel Angel Ramirez, shook his head no. "I believe today is the best example that we don't care whether we are playing home or away."
"Today, being away in the house of the record team last season, we were aggressive, we were pressing, we were dominating with the ball, most of the time in the opposite half, arriving with chances. I think this game was the best example of our philosophy."
Charlotte held the possession edge with 60 percent, but the Revs had more shots, 13 to 8, 6 on target for each side.
"I am disappointed because we deserve to score more goals," said Ramirez. But as the philosopher Mick Jagger once sang, "You can't always get what you want."
Charlotte did create opportunities from open play but it wasn't until Swiderski came close to his second free kick goal of the season that the Revs were truly in danger. Rev keeper Brad Knighton, a former UNC Wilmington player from Hickory, NC, had to dive to his right to punch Swiderski's 28-yard drive away from his right post.
Just before halftime, Daniel Rios took a pass from Bender about eight yards out on right side of goal -but his right footed shot slammed off middle of the near post.
"Against this kind of team," Ramirez followed, "if you miss your chances, they don't forgive you."
Last season's Supporters Shield winners as the best regular season side, New England had lost four straight coming into the match, including a 3-1 at Charlotte on March 19.
"Today they had the luck they didn't have in the previous games," said Ramirez. "Today they got all the luck they needed the last month."
He was referring to New England's second goal, which came in the 72nd minute when a Revs free kick into the box was parried by Kahlina who wasn't able to hold it. Guzman Corujo was first to the ball but his attempted clearance was blocked back into the net by Matthew Polster.
Buksa's goal had less to do with luck than it did with skill. Said Ramirez, "You can do everything to defend but he had an amazing jump and an amazing head which is so difficult to defend."
Charlotte pulled one back in the 85th minute on Titi Ortiz's shot from right side of box with pace, and a slight deflection which might have given it more topspin, that blew past Knighton into the keeper's right lower corner.
"We had the confidence from the last four games with three wins and we were very determined to get another three points here," said Charlotte captain Christian Fuchs. "It just didn't work. Today was a typical game of football where you might be the better team but you don't win. It hurts to walk off with no points."
Charlotte will travel to Greenville, SC for a U.S. Open Cup match against the Greenville Triumph on Wednesday and then to Denver for a game against the Colorado Rapids on April 23. They are away to Orlando on April 30 before their next home match against Inter Miami on May 7.