Charlotte FC will host the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night, with each side looking for an early-season Eastern Conference victory.
The two teams drew in their MLS season series last season with the home team taking all three points in each meeting.
Charlotte (1-3-0, three points) picked up its first win of the season last week 2-1 on the road against Orlando City.
The lineup Charlotte coach Christian Lattanzio started with against Orlando saw a good amount of turnover from the previous game. Harrison Afful, Jaylin Lindsey and Kerwin Vargas all got the start after being on the bench the previous weekend, and all three appeared on the scoresheet.
"It's our duty to be ready to give 100 percent on the day of the game," Lattanzio said postgame. "Then after they give that, we talk about tactics, game plans, strategy. But for me, the most important thing is to fight hard for this club. They have to come ready to fight and read to impose our model of the game. ... So I want a team of fighters."
Midfielder Ashley Westwood, who came over from England in the offseason, has already been ruled out for Saturday with a thigh injury. He could be replaced by Nuno Santos, who relieved Westwood for the second half against Orlando.
Forward Karol Swiderski is on international duty with Poland for Euro 2024 qualifiers. Forward Vinicius Mello will make his first appearance on the 20-man roster after missing the entirety of the 2022 season with a foot injury.
The Red Bulls (1-1-2, five points) took all three points from the Columbus Crew on Saturday night with a 2-1 victory.
The Red Bulls surrendered a 33rd-minute goal but bounced back in the second half with a 58th-minute goal from Luquinhas. Then forward Dante Vanzeir volleyed home a looping cross from John Tolkin in the 86th minute for his first MLS goal to secure the win.
"Amazing feeling," Vanzeir said. "We needed this win, first of all. To be a part of this with a goal, it's a nice moment for me, for the team. I hope I can help them even more for the next games. This is only the beginning for us."
The Red Bulls will be missing some key pieces as Cory Burke, Cristian Casseres Jr. and Steven Sserwadda will all be on international duty. New York will need players like Vanzeir and Luquinhas, who scored for the first time in 20 MLS matches, to step up to fill the offensive void.
--Field Level Media