Remarkably, it is the Eastern Conference that boasts the top four Supporters’ Shield leaders in Major League Soccer. Amongst those, in the top two spots, are the New England Revolution and FC Cincinnati, who will face each other tomorrow. Who will prevail in this major clash at TQL Stadium?
The Battle of Supporters’ Shield Leaders
MLS All-Star Djordje Petrovic
Before looking at tomorrow’s game, there is the MLS All-Star roster to discuss. Given the strong form of the New England Revolution so far this season, just one player being selected may come as a surprise to some. Even the man who did make it, Djordje Petrovic, found it hard to believe that Carles Gil won’t be joining him, saying that he “has had an excellent season and he deserved to join the team.”
Focusing on Petrovic and he was surely one of the easiest decisions for manager Wayne Rooney. His form in between the sticks since the departure of Matt Turner has been second to none to the point where he won’t be playing in MLS for much longer.
Talking of Turner and he will be the other end of the pitch for Arsenal, something which Petrovic was asked about. “He was helping me a lot while he was here, and he was helping me understand what I have to do. He has supported me all the time. It will be good to see him again.”
We’re just gonna keep posting about Djordje’s surprise. He is an icon, legend, and the whole moment.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) June 27, 2023
One individual who has clearly had a profound impact on the career of the Serbian shot-stopper is goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock. Petrovic was more than happy to wax lyrical about him. “My relationship with Kevin has been excellent since day one. He was helping me especially regarding things I could improve. Alongside Kevin, we have created a good atmosphere between the four goalkeepers. There is a good healthy competition amongst us.”
All About the Two Supporters’ Shield Leaders
Turning attentions back to the task at hand, tomorrow night’s clash against FC Cincinnati, the Supporters’ Shield leaders. The Revs welcomed Cinci to Gillette at the end of April and it ended honours even at 1-1. Petrovic was a key performer in that one as he denied Luciano Acosta from the penalty spot.
Here is head coach Bruce Arena’s assessment of what to expect tomorrow night. “They’ve been the best team in the conference to date. They have a good group of players, an exceptional one in [Luciano] Acosta, and just overall a good, solid team. They work really hard for each other, and they have a great stadium, capacity crowd each and every game, so it’s going to be a real challenge.”
To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. That will be put to the test this weekend in Cincinnati.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) June 29, 2023
Despite flying high at the summit of the MLS standings, Pat Noonan’s Cincinnati did face a surprise defeat in their last outing. First-half goals from Pedro Santos, Derrick Williams and Cristian Dajome put the game out of reach for D.C. United who held on for a convincing 3-0 lead, the dismissal of Ian Murphy making matters even worse for the Supporters’ Shield leaders.
The two other major absentees will be Matt Miazga and Brandon Vazquez. Both of them are included in the USMNT’s Gold Cup roster and so have 5/6 games away from the Ohio club. DeJuan Jones is the only Revolution individual who was named by B.J. Callaghan and so New England may have the better of it from that point of view.
Click here to read all about the reverse fixture!
Featured image credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer/USA TODAY NETWORK. Taken Wednesday, June 21, 2023.
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