The New England Revolution are building up a head of steam once again, going unbeaten in seven. They will hope to make that eight when they visit the New York Red Bulls tomorrow night, but can they succeed in the absence of captain Carles Gil?
An Eastern Conference Clash Without Captain Carles Gil
The Battle of Two MLS Originals
New York vs New England has been an East Coast fixture since the inception of MLS although the Red Bulls were then known as the MetroStars. Back to present day and these two sides are enduring very different seasons. Whilst the Revs are flying high in third in the Supporters’ Shield standings, their counterparts are wallowing all the way down in 23rd.
This has been a common fixture in Major League Soccer and the last eight meetings could not have been more balanced. The pair each have three wins to their name whilst two games ended up as 1-1 draws. When it comes to clashing at Red Bull Arena, the hosts have a 2-1-1 record with the latest game being a 2-1 win back in September, Lewis Morgan and Cristian Casseres firing back against Tommy McNamara’s opener.
Seven-unbeaten looking to make it down in New Jersey.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) July 6, 2023
There aren’t many teams in this league, if any, with a more established DNA than the Red Bulls. This is something which is regularly alluded to by opponents, just ask Bruce Arena. “They are a team that plays with high energy, they like to press teams. They are very aggressive in that part of the game and we’re aware of that. We’ve obviously played them many times and we’ll hopefully be prepared to deal with the pressure.”
Matt Polster echoed these sentiments and so it is always fascinating to see a team’s gameplan against the New Yorkers, particularly when you factor in that the Revs will be without captain Carles Gil. “They’re a very high-pressing team, they like to make the game chaotic and put you under a lot of pressure, so we’ll have to defend right from the first whistle. It’ll be a difficult game.”
How Will the Revs Lineup Without Captain Carles Gil?
News dominating the pre-game centres around a certain individual being absent for the Revs. The star man and the captain Carles Gil won’t be featuring and that is all due to an incredulous yellow card picked up in the draw with FC Cincinnati.
Polster, who of course shares the midfield with the Spaniard, was asked how the side will deal with this loss. “When you’re missing your best player things have to change amongst the group. It may be a little tweak to the formation or the personnel. We need everyone to step up in this moment.”
Carles Gil got a yellow card for simulation after this play. As a result, he’s set to miss next week’s game. pic.twitter.com/TccQSbTZCz
— Seth (@SethMan31) July 2, 2023
It was just a couple of days ago that the signing of former D.C. United man Ian Harkes was confirmed and so he could be an intriguing option. The majority of his appearances last season for SPFL side Dundee United were in a central midfield role and he has rarely been deployed in a specifically attacking or defensive role.
Noel Buck is someone else who could be in position to replace his captain Carles Gil, but Arena doesn’t believe that it is a case of solely filling that void. “Well, no one will fill that role. We will find a way to put 11 players on the field and it’s all part of it.”
The MLS standings shouldn’t be taken as gospel with the Red Bulls being a very respectable side, even without Gerhard Struber in charge. If the Revs were to face defeat here though, they will have a chance for revenge very soon as their Leagues Cup clash awaits in a couple of weeks.
Featured image credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports, taken Jun 24, 2023.
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