Only six teams in Major League Soccer are yet to drop points and two of them will go head-to-head tomorrow night. The New England Revolution struggled hugely on the road last year and so either way, a trip to the MLS Cup champions LAFC promises to be a baptism of fire.
Taking on the MLS Cup Champions
Keeping Up a Head of Steam
The wins over Charlotte and Houston have been talked down by many, but a Revs victory at the newly named BMO Stadium would be undeniable. Four goals scored and zero conceded is excellent and this defensive stability is a strong sight to see.
Djordje Petrovic was instrumental in the limited success enjoyed last season and he remains a key figure in the side. Head coach Bruce Arena isn’t exactly getting carried away about the form of his goalkeeper though, “He wasn’t kept that busy in the last game against Houston. He had one really good save at the end of the game in Charlotte, but he’s very reliable.”
En route to La La Land pic.twitter.com/jrbZM86ofq
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) March 10, 2023
LAFC’s season opener was set to be a major occasion against the Galaxy, their city rivals, only for the fixture to fall victim of bad weather. That was one has been arranged and when the MLS Cup champions did get 2023 underway, they did so in a thriller. LAFC stormed into a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Giorgio Chiellini, Carlos Vela and Kwadwo Opoku only for the Portland Timbers to fire back with two of their own.
Steve Cherundolo’s men were able to hang on in that one and he then sent out as strong a side as possible in CCL against Alajuelense of Costa Rica. This shorter gap between games could mean that the LA players are tired but Arena still anticipates an “exciting, attacking type of game”. In conjunction, defender Brandon Bye is wary of the Revs’ desire to push forward, saying that “as much as we want to attack, we also have to defend.”
How Will the Two Sides Line Up?
The leader at the back Andrew Farrell has been absent thus far in MLS and in his place, former Galaxy centre-half Dave Romney has formed a strong partnership with Henry Kessler. Shot-stopper Petrovic has sung the praises of Farrell as well as the mood around Kessler and Romney being very positive. “He is always a good communicator with the backline, and we are hoping that he’s going to be back on the field soon.”
Going further forward now and a brave decision from Arena paid off against the Dynamo. He opted for Bobby Wood over DP Giacomo Vrioni and Wood scored one of the three goals in the win at Gillette Stadium. There are two other names in the striker conversation and both will be keen to get amongst it. Here is what the head coach had to say about this: “I don’t know if [Altidore] will play. I don’t know if Gustavo [Bou] will play either. We’ll get our lineup set on Saturday, but they’re both here in LA.”
Denis Bouanga is named the Player of the Match after an outstanding performance, including a remarkable hat-trick!
— Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (@TheChampions) March 10, 2023
As a result of the midweek fixture for the defending MLS Cup champions, Arena expects changes. “As a result, They have played the same lineup in their last two games, so I would anticipate there will be some changes. Perhaps they’ll look a little different.”
Previously, there were questions about who would lead the line for LAFC, but Ligue 1 man Denis Bouanga is doing his best to make that position his own. He may well have been more off of the left in Costa Rica but he netted a hat-trick all the same and made the difference on the day.
Both sides will fancy their chances in a must-watch MLS clash. The last two Supporters’ Shield winners go toe-to-toe in LA tomorrow, the New England Revolution vs MLS Cup champions LAFC, live on the MLS Apple TV season pass
Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports on March 4, 2023.
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