PREVIEW – The New England Revolution have had a very topsy-turvy season to date. They have had a tough couple of games from which they accumulated zero points, and it doesn’t get any easier. Next on the agenda is an in-form Columbus side who have been buoyed by the arrival of Cucho Hernandez. Will the Colombian forward be at it once again?
Will This In-Form Columbus Side Overpower New England?
Form Favours the Visitors
It is impossible to talk about this in-form Columbus side without highlighting the new signing. Hernandez has hit the ground running and this injection of goals and general performance has propelled them into the playoff spots. Here is Bruce Arena’s brief breakdown of this weekend’s opponents: “Good group of attacking players, good pace on the flanks, good striker, good playmaker, experienced goalkeeper.”
The form of Caleb Porter’s men isn’t just due to the major purchase from Watford. Their last defeat came back in late May at the hands of Supporters Shield favourites’ LAFC. Since then, they have gone unbeaten for eight games. Four of which were draws against the likes of Real Salt Lake and the Union. Amongst their wins, Derrick Etienne scored a brace in Chicago whilst Hernandez and Lucas Zelarayan were on target against FC Cincinnati.
With a goal in the 16th minute tonight, the @ColumbusCrew's Juan “Cucho” Hernández became the first player in @MLS history to score his first four goals in under 90 minutes of game action. pic.twitter.com/awFW1GyLGZ
— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) July 18, 2022
Moving onto the Revolution and they had an unbeaten run of their own going. It could well go from ten games without a loss to three games without a point as this is certainly an in-form Columbus side. NYCFC and Philly both posed too much of a threat and coach Arena doesn’t think his team did themselves any favours either.
“It’s well known that we’ve dropped a lot of points by conceding goals at the end of games and a lot of those mistakes have been mental mistakes, technical mistakes, and in a lot of cases, I can’t even say I take my hat off and tip it to the other team, they made a great play.”
There Has Been Nothing to Separate the Pair Recently
Both teams have had the highest of highs in recent years. The Crew beat Seattle at the final hurdle of MLS Cup at the end of December 3-0. They then didn’t make the playoffs the following year which doesn’t bode well for the Revs who of course broke the points record last term. As it stands, Bruce’s men would follow that trend this time around.
The previous five meetings follow along with the trend of these two being well-matched. Both teams enjoyed a 1-0 win on home soil before there were three draws in-a-row. Recently departed Adam Buksa scored the goal at Gillette Stadium whilst Artur was the man of the moment at Historic Crew Stadium.
46': Subbed on at halftime. 🔁
81': Bring one back.
90'+3': Score the equalizer.
Just another day in the office for Adam Buksa. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/PY8ZsdSeT0
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 25, 2021
When asked if there is an edge to games when you’re going up against other big-hitters in the East, such as this in-form Columbus side, defender Brandon Bye replied as follows. “Maybe a little. I think they all kind of feel like that, especially when you’re going up against familiar teams that you know them, and they know us. But yeah, again it’s another big week for us and we’re looking for three points on the weekend.”
In-Form Columbus Forward Cucho Hernandez is One to Watch
It isn’t just an in-form Columbus side that beckons but an in-form Columbus forward in Cucho Hernandez. He has netted four goals in the black and yellow already and they have come in just 137 minutes. He is the record signing for the Crew and it’s clear to see why.
Arena outlined that “we expect most of our guys will be ready to go.” On the newest arrival, Giacomo Vrioni though: “If he travels with us and is on a gameday roster, he would only be available for limited minutes.” Meanwhile, Bye was sidelined last month but that is behind him now, in his own words; “Nobody’s exactly 100 percent. But yeah, I feel good and ready to go.”
Elsewhere, the fullback he was full of praise for a couple of the new arrivals: “Djordje [Petrovic] in goal has been very strong in the minutes he’s played, and I think, with any young keeper coming into the league and really just getting thrown right into the fire, he’s done really well. And then Dylan [Borrero], he’s an energetic, exciting player to watch, a guy that you can just give the ball to and he’ll make something happen.”
Previously, the Revs were above the playoff line but now this in-form Columbus side have replaced them in the projected post-season places. It will be a nail-biter at Gillette no matter the outcome!
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