PREVIEW – With a ten-game unbeaten streak to their name, the Revolution will now face the ultimate test. The 2022 MLS Cup playoffs winners New York City FC will welcome New England to the big apple in a mammoth Eastern Conference clash. Can the Revs compound the NYCFC struggles?
The Revolution Seek Revenge from Last Year’s MLS Cup Playoffs
Two Teams Experiencing Varying Form
As was previously mentioned, the Revolution has built up a head of steam that has brought them back into the playoff picture. There has been some criticism levelled at them regarding the number of draws in this unbeaten run. This is something that Bruce Arena has batted away though.
Three of the last four results have been draws, the solitary win being over Minnesota United. Prior to that, New England drew with Orlando City 1-1 and then after it, played out a goalless tie with the Whitecaps. Last time out, FC Cincinnati visited Gillette Stadium and the pair played out their usually entertaining affair.
Bruce Arena on a new era for the New England Revolution:
"This is new for the Revolution, we’re trying real hard to move the club forward. We realize we’ve been a little bit behind, we’re trying to catch up. … And eventually we’re going to move into a new stadium."
— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) July 5, 2022
On the flip side, the champions of last season’s MLS Cup Playoffs have hit a bump in the road following the departure of Ronny Deila. Their Norwegian manager took a job with Standard Liege in Belgium and the void has been filled with Nick Cushing. The Englishman takes on the role on an interim basis and has been at the helm of Manchester City’s Women for a number of years.
Following their exit from the Champions League, NYCFC went on a strong run to thrust them into the upper echelons in the East. Off the back of Deila’s exit though, the results have dried up. Cushing’s first game in charge saw them draw with Colorado before they were dumped out of the Open Cup by their bitterest rivals. A dramatic defeat at the hands of Philly along with entertaining draws with Cinci and Atlanta make up a below-par run in the blue half of New York.
NYCFC Prevailed in the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs
“Now we go to New York, a very good team, one of the best teams, of course, in the league” is the words of captain Carles Gil and the stats back it up, following last season’s MLS Cup playoffs. On their way to clinching the trophy, NYCFC knocked off the Revs via a penalty shootout. After breaking the points record in the regular season, they were unable to deliver in the post-season.
Santiago Rodriguez and Adam Buksa were on target in the first ten minutes and then Taty Castellanos and Tajon Buchanan found the back of the net in extra time. The Argentinian superstar Castellanos saw red short not long after but that wasn’t enough to help the Revs get over the line.
Taty Castellanos scored both in 2-2 draw v #UniteAndConquer on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
— Glenn Crooks (@GlennCrooks) July 7, 2022
The pair have met once since then, but in the Open Cup as opposed to the MLS Cup playoffs. Having eased past Cincinnati in the previous round, it was a surprisingly weak side deployed by Arena. NYCFC rotated too and it was a Rodriguez strike at the beginning of extra-time that proved to be the difference.
Tracking back to the playoff defeat and Gil stated that “Of course, we don’t forget that game. It was a difficult moment for us after the big season.” A balance has to be struck between using it as motivation and putting it to the back of your mind.
The game will take place on Saturday as the game takes place at 1:00 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium.
A Last Word
A number of key players are seemingly returning to action for the Revolution. Brandon Bye, Henry Kessler and Sebastian Lletget featured against Pat Noonan’s Cincinnati whilst Matt Polster was still sidelined due to the concussion protocol.
The talk around NYCFC right now is regarding the changing of the guard in the managerial role and the imminent departure of Castellanos. These two factors are considered; they are still one of the best this league has to offer. Will New England make it 11 games unbeaten and atone for the MLS Cup playoffs defeat in the process?
Tajon Buchanan to read what Bruce Arena had to say about the Revolution’s newest signing Giacomo Vrioni!