Orlando City is in need of a victory after three straight winless matches. Things won’t get any easier tonight as the Lions visit Gillette Stadium, where the New England Revolution is 1-0-3 this season. Orlando has yet to beat the Revs, who never seem to go away, even if you score in the second minute of stoppage time and then totally and completely legally block a cross with the front of your shoulder.
The Revolution are great at getting something out of the game, with six draws and a win on the season in nine matches. You could say they have only one victory but they've also failed to earn points only twice in nine games. So, is the glass half empty or half full?
What do you think the Revs must to better than in the first meeting in Saturday's re-match against Orlando City and what did you think New England did well in that first match-up?
Jake Catanese: I think defensively the Revolution were very sound overall in Orlando a few weeks ago. Yes there was the early penalty but the center back pairing of Je-Vaughn Watson and Andrew Farrell played really well, with Watson in particular making up for giving away that PK. But basically what the Revs need to do is simply finish, it wasn’t a problem specific to the Orlando game but something they’re just not doing at all. Yes Teal Bunbury finished a point-blank chance, but the with all the possession the Revolution have gotten in the final third this season, in Orlando and everywhere else, the shots they have been getting off are just bad or easy saves for the opposing keepers. I said the Revolution need a breakout game where they score three or four goals and they’re still looking for that.
How will the Revolution’s mid-week draw against the Portland Timbers affect the way New England approaches the Orlando City match Saturday night?
JC: The Revs come into this game a little banged up but Jay Heaps will likely have his guys at or close to full strength even on a short week after rotating a few players against Portland. Scott Caldwell didn’t play at all with Daigo Kobayashi deputizing in the central midfield, London Woodberry could be an option at right back since he didn’t feature against the Timbers either. Striker remains an issue with Charlie Davies going down in the first half and being replaced by Juan Agudelo, though Femi Hollinger-Janzen has shown well off the bench and could be in line for serious minutes this weekend. If the attacking midfield trio of Diego Fagundez–Lee Nguyen–Kelyn Rowe remains unchanged, I’m not worried about anyone going the distance, but fatigue could always be a factor coming off a short week.
Both teams are going to be desperate for three points this weekend. Which team do you think is the more desperate team at this stage of the season, and why?
JC: New England has to be more desperate. They're at home and only have one win on the season. Somehow the Revs have played more games (9) than anyone else in the East (Chicago has played only six) and with everyone in the conference having games in hand, the Revs could very quickly find themselves several points below the red line. It's early in the season, yes, and the Revs can run just as hot as they can cold when it comes to winning and losing streaks in MLS, but this is a team that has to be considered desperate for a win.
Can you please give us any key injuries/suspensions the Revs are facing, as well as your predictions for the starting XI and the final score of the match?
JC: Here’s our injury report, but, ugh, where do we start? Charlie Davies is definitely out and Teal Bunbury is questionable so that leaves Agudelo, who just returned from his own injury as the likely starter. Coming off a short week it would be very easy to talk me into letting Hollinger-Janzen start and using Agudelo off the bench, especially with Femi in decent form from his short sub appearances. Chris Tierney is also still out and we’ll see if Donnie Smith makes a second consecutive start at the position or if Je-Vaughn Watson slides over from right back. Utility midfielder Steve Neumann who hasn’t featured yet in 2016 is also dealing with a knock and probably won’t be available for selection either.
This is a very safe starting lineup and one that just has to get the job done at this point. Orlando did a very good job of forcing the Revs out wide and settling for crosses into the box and either Lee Nguyen just needs to take over a game and win it himself or the Revs are going to have figure out how to get on the end of one of those crosses. The Revs need a win, and it needs to be big. As I said on the PawedCast, 3-0 to the home side.
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Big thanks to Jake from The Bent Musket for giving us the match view from the New England Revolution fan’s perspective.