Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Orlando City
Venue: Gillette Stadium – Sunday, May 1 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)
Match Odds: New England Revolution 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Orlando City 15/4
These two met just two weeks ago in Orlando, with a dramatic and controversial ending to the game seeing both sides score in stoppage time to draw 2-2.
Jay Heaps and his New England side were MLS Cup finalists in 2014 and now they are struggling to maintain a playoff place. Much of this problem stems from the six draws from their nine games so far.
The Revs need to kickstart their season soon as they are nearly a third of the way through the campaign and have only managed nine points to date. A points-per-game ratio of 1.0 is way below the requirements for success and also below club expectations.
New England come into this one off the back of Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at home to Portland and will hope they don’t show signs of fatigue here.
Orlando City are a much improved unit this season, having seemingly overcome their goalkeeping issues from last year with Joe Bendik playing every minute of their campaign so far.
The additions of Julio Baptista and Antonio Nocerino have helped bolster the attacking options and now Orlando are in a position to challenge the top two of the Eastern Conference, should key players stay fit through the season.
Orlando is an exciting place to be if you’re a fan as the side plays a creative and fearless style that will trouble the Revs on Saturday. Orlando will be looking to end a winless run of three when they take to the road this weekend.
The 2-2 draw in Orlando two weeks ago was the third meeting between these two. The only previous clash at Gillette Stadium saw the Revs win 3-0 last September and more goals are expected here.
New England Revolution are without Steve Neumann (knee) and Chris Tierney (hamstring). Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury (both hamstring) are doubts so Charlie Davies may get the nod in attack.
Orlando City are definitely without Conor Donovan (ACL), while Kaka is suffering with a groin injury but should shake it off to play.
New England Revolution’s last five: W/D/D/L/D
Orlando City’s last five: W/W/L/D/L
Key Stat: Orlando City have never beaten New England in the three attempts so far.
Key Player: Cyle Larin – The Canadian striker has started this season the way he finished the last – scoring goals. He is now a huge player for the Florida-based franchise and will be important on Saturday night again.
New England 1-2 Orlando City – Both these sides that should be challenging for the Eastern Conference playoff spots this season but have yet to hit true form. Orlando have been the more potent side so far and have had an extra few days rest than the home side so we see them edging it.