The New England Revolution made light work of CF Montreal last weekend. The former head coach of the Canadian side awaits the Revs this time around as they make the trip to Columbus, Ohio. Wilfried Nancy is the man in question and his Crew side have a lot of potential, so this promises to be a tough test.
Visiting Wilfried Nancy and the Crew
Who Will Start for the Revolution?
A clash in the upper echelons of the Eastern Conference beckons tomorrow between Columbus and New England. The pair are both performing well to date in MLS and will both be hopeful of being there or thereabouts come October.
Bruce Arena was able to deploy the Revolution at near enough full strength when CF Montreal came to town. Latif Blessing and Gustavo Bou are just two players who haven’t been regular fixtures in the team thus far in 2023 and they made a big difference in this one. After all, the latter contributed an assist on the day and the former put on a passing masterclass for all to behold.
Latif Blessing for New England Revolution in 4-0 win at CF Montreal:
•41/43 completed passes
•11 ball recoveries
•7/10 ground duels won
•6 final 3rd passes
•3 chances created
•2/3 tackles won
•1/1 shot on target pic.twitter.com/NfHODmjSqK
— ⬅️ #JoySports (@JoySportsGH) April 10, 2023
Due to recent injury issues, Blessing was replaced on the hour mark whilst Henry Kessler only lasted until half time. The experienced Andrew Farrell came on in the place of Kessler and may well start against the Crew with Arena confirming that Kessler “didn’t practice” yesterday.
Moving onto the decisions that fall at the feet of Wilfried Nancy ahead of tomorrow and the attacking third requires most of the attention. Cucho Hernandez was firing on all cylinders last season after joining from Watford but he has been watching on from the sidelines recently amidst injury worries.
Former Dynamo and LAFC man Christian Ramirez arrived in the off-season from Scotland has made the striker spot his own, scoring a brace in the dominant win over Atlanta United as well as netting in the last outing, a 2-0 victory in D.C. Beyond this duo, Arena is wary of two more Columbus players. “[Lucas] Zelarayán is an outstanding player. [Darlington] Nagbe in the midfield is excellent and so in my opinion, those are two of the top players in their positions in the league.”
Bruce Arena vs Wilfried Nancy
Bruce Arena is of course a veteran of this league whereas Wilfried Nancy is one of the newer faces to enjoy success in Major League Soccer. The Frenchman succeeded his fellow countryman Thierry Henry north of the border and went above and beyond expectations. In the Revolution’s record-breaking season, they did the double over Nancy’s Montreal team. This was then flipped on its head as Arena lost twice without scoring at all.
This will be the first clash between the two managers since Wilfried Nancy took over in Columbus and his opposite number is full of praise for him. He “has done a very good job, plays a unique style of play, very aggressive attacking group of players, well organized team… All of his teams have been very competitive. His team last year in Montreal was a very good one and he’s doing the same in Columbus, so in a short period of time he has an outstanding record.”
Challenge each other 💪
Coach Wilfried Nancy and Will Sands discuss the team's mentality against DC and the specificities and nuances the team is focused on heading into this weekend's home match against New England.#Crew96 | #CLBvNE pic.twitter.com/cfD7xqJ6gq
— The Crew (@ColumbusCrew) April 13, 2023
In the Eastern Conference, only two teams have scored more than the Revs in 2023. One of those is Atlanta United and leading the way, with 17 in seven, are the Crew. Columbus boasts a star-studded attacking force and so DeJuan Jones and co will be very much up against it. On the topic of Jones and Arena was quite frank about his prospects, saying the following. “He has to continue to grow as a player if he has any kind of aspirations of competing for a spot on the national team.”
A full-strength Revs side can cause anyone problems and so this promises to be a fascinating encounter. The Revolution visit Columbus tomorrow night at 7:30pm ET and the battle at Lower.Com Field is available on the Apple TV Season Pass.
Featured image credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports, taken on Apr 1, 2023.