After picking up three points in the season opener, the New England Revolution will return to home territory. Henry Kessler scored the only goal of the game at the death against Charlotte and now Houston Dynamo lie in wait. Will the Revs home opener result in another victory?
Previewing the Revs Home Opener
Will Arena Stick to the Side That Beat Charlotte?
Bruce Arena opted for a cohesive mix of youth and experience for the trip to North Carolina. This came with varying results and those younger players to thrive included Dylan Borrero and Noel Buck. When asked about the teenager, his midfield partner Matt Polster was full of praise. “You can see that he has confidence in the way he plays and for 17, he’s got the size and he’s got the mobility where he can run.”
Buck will surely be in line to continue to play alongside the former Chicago Fire man, someone who Arena views to be very important. If he “stays healthy and he plays his position the way he should, he’s a real important piece to our team.”
Elsewhere on the field though, changes can be expected for this Revs home opener, owing to the competitiveness of the league and the team too. “There are going to be changes, and I think because of the makeup of our roster, there will be competition week in and week out.” Someone who won’t be entering the fold just yet though is Gustavo Bou as he has only recent returned to the States. “We’ll get him through a week of training and make a decision for the game next week.”
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) February 26, 2023
It didn’t quite go as well for Houston in their first game of the season in Ohio. Sergio Santos and Obinna Nwobodo scored either side of a Tate Schmitt strike to get things rolling for FC Cincinnati in 2023. Fullback Schmitt came through the crowd to head home a Hector Herrera corner on the brink of half-time for the Dynamo.
Polster spoke of the threats that Herrera and co can pose, citing Adalberto Carrasquilla and Artur along with the Mexican. When asked about the midfield battle for this Revs season opener, he said that they need to “make sure that we control the tempo of the game because I know they’re going to want to have the ball and if we can limit that, I think will we’ll see ourselves getting three points on the weekend.”
Familiar Faces in the Technical Areas
Given his wealth of experience in the sport, it is no huge surprise when Bruce Arena crosses paths with an old friend. Former D.C. United boss Ben Olsen is now at the helm in Houston and in his playing days, Arena was his manager. Olsen’s USMNT career spanned eight years and that spell aligned perfectly with the 71-year-old and his nine years in charge.
Talking of MLS managers and Charlotte’s Christian Lattanzio spoke very highly of New England, labelling them as the best team in the league. This is Arena’s response: “It’s nice of him to say that. I thought his team gave a great effort against us, as well. I think we all need to keep things in perspective. It was game one of a long season, and we’re trying to make progress each and every week.”
“It still hurts not to get something out of it. There was a lot of positives, but still— we leave wanting a little bit more”- Head Coach Ben Olsen
— Houston Dynamo FC (@HoustonDynamo) February 28, 2023
It had been a long while since New England last won their first game and now a victory in this Revs home opener would continue to buck the trend. Last season for example, it all began in Portland where Brandon Bye and Sebastian Lletget were on target in a 2-2 draw. This was followed up by a win over FC Dallas before suffering four straight defeats.
Arena and co will be hoping to pick up where they left off when they face the Dynamo. This game will be available on the Apple TV MLS Season Pass with kick-off at 7:30pm Eastern Time.
Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports of the New England Revolution’s Headshot on February 25, 2023.