Toronto, ON– Off the back of a positive result against D.C. United, the New England Revolution is even closer to the playoff line. Their post-season credentials will be pushed to the limit this week as they go north of the border. In a double-game week, the Revolution will first visit Toronto FC, before going over to face CF Montreal on the weekend.
The Revolution Face a Mid-Week Trip to Toronto
Defensive Stability and the Revolution Go Hand-In-Hand
Serbian shot-stopper Djordje Petrovic has had to make regular visits to Dunkin’ Donuts due to the success of his backline. Every clean sheet brings with it a large box of donuts and the Revolution have had four of them in a row. This run began with back-to-back goalless draws but now that they are putting the ball in the back of the net, the only way is up.
The trio of goalscorers in Orlando may have been somewhat usual but the normal order was restored at Gillette Stadium last time out. Captain and defending MVP Carles Gil fired the only goal of the game low and hard beyond the reach of D.C. goalkeeper Rafael Romo. Keeping it in the family and the Revolution are linked with signing Carles’ brother Nacho. Here is what Bruce Arena had to say on the matter: “He’s a player that we’re considering. He’s free right now, so he’s eligible to be signed, so that would be a possibility down the road.”
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) August 14, 2022
Toronto FC and their road to an MLS Cup Playoffs berth
Flipping the script to the home side now and Toronto FC’s playoff ambitions are more far-fetched. They are currently four points behind Orlando, Miami, and New England, but they certainly have the quality to get the job done. This Wednesday night fixture will be a battle of the busiest teams in regards to the summer transfer window.
Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi both starred in their debuts, a mauling of new boys Charlotte FC. Alongside the new arrivals, experienced midfield duo Jonathan Osorio and Michael Bradley have enjoyed a resurgence in their form. The pair were both on target against Charlotte plus the former netted a brace in a dramatic 4-3 win over Nashville SC. Last time out, the two Italians plus Osorio were on target in a dominant victory against the Timbers at BMO Field.
A Finely Balanced Fixture
Talking of BMO Field and the Revolution haven’t lost either of their last two visits there. It was a 0-0 draw back in 2020 whilst goals from Gustavo Bou and Tajon Buchanan made the difference a year ago yesterday.
As previously mentioned, Toronto has won their previous two games, against Nashville and Portland. Prior to that, they visited Gillette Stadium and returned home with a point. The spoils were shared in a goalless draw and it was Petrovic who stole the headlines. He denied Euro 2020 winner Insigne from the penalty spot to cling firmly onto that clean sheet.
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) July 31, 2022
Attentions turn to the final stretch as the post-season beckons. There are ten games ahead, between the Revolution and a spot in the playoffs. New England has two fixtures against CF Montreal and the majority of this period will see them meet fellow Eastern Conference teams.
Youngster Tico Rivera spoke on what he expects in the run-in. “Coming off four clean sheets in the past four games is good for us. I think in these last games of the season, we want to continue to push and continue to be a good team defensively, and obviously offensively. I think if we continue to do that, we’ll be in a good place at the end of the regular season.”
Canada’s Covid Protocol
A lot of the talk online in the build-up to the Revs’ visit north of the border is about the fitness of Arena’s squad. The coach highlighted the issues faced when it comes to the status of players. “We have players like [Gustavo] Bou who I think has only started nine or 10 games this year, Giacomo [Vrioni] who just came in, has not been available as of late. It’s difficult.” He then went on to mention a number of other names.
One of which was Henry Kessler. The centre-back will again be unavailable for this clash with Toronto but for very different reasons. As was reported by various sources over the last week or so, Kessler is listed as missing due to “health and safety protocols”.
If you had any doubts about @frankdellapa report on Kessler’s vaccination status (I don’t know why you would doubt Frank) here it is. Kessler out due to health and safety protocols #NERevs pic.twitter.com/4hUlo62Vy7
— Sam Minton (@sam_minton22) August 15, 2022
The specifics of this is that he is unvaccinated and a covid vaccine is required to get into Canada, causing Arena further headaches when it comes to team selection. Toronto has a superb attack and the Revolution will be short-changed at the back in this one. That being said, Petrovic and co are on a great run and so it will be a hotly contested fixture no matter what.
TFC will host the Revolution tomorrow at BMO Field. That game will kick off at 7:38 p.m. ET. The game will be shown live on TV38, and MyRITV & CoziTV. This is while the game will be televised live in Canada on TSN.