MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, March 28 – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 10/11 – Draw 12/5 – San Jose Earthquakes 3/1

New England Revolution take on San Jose Earthquakes at Gillette Stadium on Saturday in what is a huge MLS match for the Revs after they’ve lost two of their opening three and are yet to score a goal.

San Jose Earthquakes, by contrast, have had a great start, picking up two wins on the bounce and have responded well following their opening day defeat to FC Dallas.

The Quakes have scored five goals in their last two games, including three in an excellent away win against the Seattle Sounders two weeks ago.

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New England are on a poor run of form after a 3-0 drubbing on the opening day against Seattle Sounders followed by a 2-0 defeat to New York City FC.

The Revs took a point from a Montreal Impact side that played with ten men for the final 30 minutes last time out, and they’ve really struggled to hit the back of the net.

New England can take confidence from the fact that they’ve beaten San Jose in their last two meetings though, and a win is much needed in order to take some pressure off head coach Jay Heaps.

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San Jose Earthquakes are in a rich vein of form and are currently second in the Western Conference, level on points with the Vancouver Whitecaps going into this weekend’s fixtures.

The Quakes will fancy their chances over a vulnerable New England side that are languishing in ninth place in the Eastern Conference above only Chicago Fire – the side that San Jose beat 2-1 last weekend.

Team News

New England Revolution will still be without influential midfielder Jermaine Jones who is recovering from his hernia surgery. Donnie Smith and Kevin Alston are both unavailable while Teal Bunbury remains a doubt. Playmaker Lee Nguyen has question marks over whether he will play.

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As for San Jose Earthquakes, Mark Sherrod remains out with a knee injury, as does Steven Lenhart. Defender Paulo Renato is out with a hamstring injury. Fatai Alashe will miss out as he is with the US U23 squad while Tommy Thompson is with the U20 side.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s form: L/L/D

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: L/W/W

Key Stat: New England Revolution are unbeaten in their last 11 Major League Soccer games at Gillette Stadium.

Key Player: Ty Harden – The Quakes defender notched a goal and an assist against Chicago last weekend and will look to build on that performance this weekend.

Score Prediction

New England Revolution 1-3 San Jose Earthquakes – New England will break their goalscoring duck, but the Quakes are in good form and will pick up another three points away from home this week.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs Montreal Impact

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, March 21 – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT )

Match Odds: New England Revolution 17/20 – Draw 5/2 – Montreal Impact 16/5

Match Preview

New England Revolution host Montreal Impact at the Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening in their first MLS home game of the 2015 campaign.

The Revs have had a poor start to the season with two defeats from two games, and they find themselves rooted to the foot of the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.

Montreal Impact have only played one MLS game so far and that ended in a 1-0 defeat away at DC United on March 7, however they are in with a great chance of reaching the CONCACAF Champions League final after a 2-0 semifinal first-leg win over Alajuelense on Wednesday thanks to goals from Ignacio Piatti and Victor Cabrera.

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The strong form the Impact have shown in that competition will fill them with confidence and they will be hoping to pounce on New England’s slow start on Saturday night.

Frank Klopas has only had two days to recover and prepare his Montreal side following their midweek victory, and a trip to New England could take its toll, so he will be hoping fatigue doesn’t affect their performance on the day.

New England have failed to score in their opening two games for the second consecutive season and they’re experiencing a case of déjà vu as their stats read as played two, lost two, scored none, conceded five – the exact same situation they were in one year ago.

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Although it’s obviously a major disappointment for head coach Jay Heaps, he knows how much quality the Revs have in their squad and will point to last season as an example of what can be achieved despite being slow out of the blocks.

The absence of Jermaine Jones has been a clear problem, but once he returns they will be fully confident of turning it around in the long term. In the short term, this game presents the perfect opportunity to kick-start the 2015 campaign.

The head-to-head record between these two Eastern Conference sides in MLS is very tight with New England coming out on top in three of the previous eight encounters compared to Montreal’s four victories, while the most recent clash ended in a 2-2 draw back in October 2014.

Team News

New England Revolution’s defensive mainstay Jose Goncalves will miss the game through suspension following his red card against New York City last time out. The Revs are still without the injured Jermaine Jones and Teal Bunbury is also a doubt as he recovers from a shoulder injury. Defenders Kevin Alston (hamstring) and Donnie Smith (groin) are both unavailable.

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Montreal impact will be without midfielder Andres Romero and defender Adrian Lopez. Goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau is unavailable due to a shoulder problem and Justin Mapp remains a long term absentee with an elbow injury.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s form: L/L

Montreal Impact’s form: L

Key Stat: New England Revolution failed to score in the opening three games of the 2014 season and history is on course to repeat itself unless they can pull themselves together here.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – He is the playmaker for the Revs and he really hasn’t got going yet. If he can start performing to the best of his ability then the results will come.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 1-1 Montreal Impact – Both sides will desperate for their first point of the new season and we could see a tightly contested affair.

Podcast: Altidore, Revs and Manchester United

In this week’s MLSGB Podcast Zack Walford talks to Louis East and Jamie Ives about Jozy Altidore after his fine start to life with Toronto FC, New England Revolution and where their 3-0 loss to Seattle leaves them and we also look at Manchester United and their chances on making the top four in the Premier League this season.

As always, be sure to leave your comments below or get in touch on Twitter: @MLSGB_.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs New England Revolution

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Sunday, March 8 – 21:30 ET (01:30 GMT – Monday, 9)

Match Odds: Seattle 10/11 – Draw 13/5 – New England 14/5

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders face New England Revolution in the final game of the opening weekend of the new Major League Soccer season as two of the best sides from last season go head-to-head on Sunday night.

The Sounders lifted the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2014 and won more games than anyone else in MLS last year but a new season means it’s time to start fresh and Seattle will want nothing more than victory to start to the new campaign.

The Revs went all the way to MLS Cup last year but suffered a painful extra-time loss to eventual champions, LA Galaxy. It’s important for New England to come back fighting again in 2015 but they couldn’t have picked a trickier place to play their first game of the new season.

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Seattle also lost to the LA Galaxy to end their 2014 season but their regular season form was good in the run-in as they won three of their last five. The Sounders will be out to seek revenge for last season’s thumping 5-0 defeat in New England in what was the heaviest loss of their entire campaign.

That result could give New England confidence and they are now unbeaten in three against the Sounders. Both sides love to play attacking football and that could lead to an open, entertaining game on Sunday.

Lee Nguyen was the star for the Revs in 2014 and he will look to pick up where he left off, while the return of Juan Agudelo in attack only bolsters New England.

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Seattle will rely on the deadly duo of Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey once again, though Lamar Neagle could be set to partner Martins in attack, with Dempsey slotting in an advanced midfield role.

The Revs beat the Sounders in both sides’ penultimate preseason game as New England won 2-1 in the Desert Diamond Cup match in Tucson, Arizona but the start of the new season will be an entirely different game.

Team News

Seattle Sounders will be without midfield enforcer and Designated Player, Osvaldo Alonso (groin) for the start of the new season and Gonzalo Pineda is likely to step in a fill the void. Tyrone Mears should make his debut at right-back as life after DeAndre Yedlin begins for the Sounders.

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New England Revolution go into the game without a star midfielder of their own as Jermaine Jones will miss the first few weeks of the new season after undergoing surgery on a hernia last month. Daigo Kobayashi is expected to step in to replace Jones in midfield while Juan Agudelo could start in attack with Charlie Davies on the bench.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ form: N/A

New England Revolution’s form: N/A

Key Stat: New England Revolution have scored in all of their last ten Major League Soccer games, including the playoffs. The Revs netted 22 goals in their last ten games of 2014.

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Key Player: Clint Dempsey – With no Jermaine Jones in midfield for the Revs, Clint Dempsey could find himself more space than usual and if he is not picked up by New England he will cause all kinds of problems.

Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 2-1 New England Revolution – Seattle won more times than anyone else last year and the absence of Jones for the Revs should see the Sounders start 2015 with victory in an entertaining game.

MLS 2015 Season Preview: New England Revolution

As the 2015 season beckons, we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what the New England Revolution will be hoping to achieve this year…

Is this New England Revolution’s year? Could they go all the way? They finished as runners-up last term and were a dominant force in MLS once Jermaine Jones arrived in August. They lost just once in the regular season after the arrival of Jones and were impressive throughout the playoffs before losing in extra-time to the LA Galaxy in the 2014 MLS Cup final. That defeat will still be haunting players as well as the Revs supporters but they are in a strong position to hit the ground running and make another charge at the title this season. 

Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference position: 2nd – P34 – W17 – D4 – L13 

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What needs to change this year? 

Not much if we’re honest, they just need to pick up where they left off and hope that Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen can continue to inspire them. Perhaps one weakness with the Revs is the lack of goals from their attacking core. Nguyen (as good as he is) should not be top scorer again and the return of Juan Agudelo is one which should only make the team more dangerous.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Juan Agudelo – Forward, Jeremy Hall – Midfielder, Sean Okoli – Midfielder

Outs: Patrick Mullins – Forward, Tony Taylor – Forward, AJ Soares – Defender, Stephen McCarthy – Defender

Key player: Lee Nguyen – Midfielder

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Lee Nguyen was the standout performer for New England in 2014 and came very close to being named as the league’s MVP, though he fell short to Robbie Keane for that accolade. Still, with 20 goals last season and a deserved recall to the USMNT, Nguyen looks set to inspire his side once again. He was the highest scoring midfielder in MLS last time out and will hope to build on those incredible displays in 2015.

One to watch: Juan Agudelo – Forward

Juan Agudelo returns to New England for a second spell after leaving for Europe in 2013. He will add sharpness to this Revs side in attack and will be battling with Charlie Davies for the starting spot. He will be key this term so expect goals from the 22-year-old striker. With a supporting cast of Nguyen, Teal Bunbury and Jermaine Jones to name just a few, Agudelo could be a genuine candidate for the MLS Golden Boot this year. Watch out.

Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 1st

New England were four points off first-placed DC United in the Eastern Conference last year and lost four more games than the eventual winners. Though they have Jermaine Jones for a full season now and his influence cannot be undervalued. The Eastern Conference is packed with talented squads and it will be a fiercely competitive campaign, but the Revs have only strengthened over the offseason and will expect to be competing for the MLS Cup again come December. They were the form side at the end of 2014 and won the Eastern Conference title in the end. They will go into the new season in full confidence.

How will New England Revolution fare in 2015?

Jermaine Jones to undergo surgery less than a month before MLS kickoff

New England Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones has announced that he is set to undergo surgery just four weeks before the 2015 MLS season gets underway.

Jones played a full 90 minutes in the USMNT‘s 2-0 win over Panama yesterday but he revealed that he is now ready for surgery after a tough month with the national team.

The 33-year-old midfielder revealed the news on his official Instagram page earlier today: “Yeah, tomorrow’s my surgery, so I’ll be out for a couple of weeks but then I’ll get back sharp,” he said in a video.

“Thanks again for yesterday. It was amazing. Big support in LA. Thank you guys.”

Jones quickly established himself as a star player in MLS with the Revs after completing his switch to the club in August as he made 15 appearances in the regular season and MLS Playoffs combined.

It was undoubtedly Jones’s influence that helped the Revs to reach the 2014 MLS Cup final, though they ultimately fell to the LA Galaxy in extra-time.

The German-born midfield enforcer will now face a race against time in order to be ready for the start of the new season.

He has reassured fans by saying he will only be out for a “couple of weeks” and New England supporters will certainly hope that is the case as they start the new season against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, March 8.

How important is Jermaine Jones to the New England Revolution?

USMNT end five game winless streak with 2-0 victory over Panama

The rot has been stopped. Jurgen Klinsmann and the US Men’s National Team ended a five-game winless streak with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Panama on Sunday.

First-half goals from Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey saw the USA record their first win since a 1-0 friendly victory against the Czech Republic back in September.

Panama were far from threatening but it’s important that the USMNT got a win under their belt and the second clean-sheet in seven since the World Cup will also please Klinsmann.

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The 3-5-2 system we saw deployed in the first-half against Chile last time out was not tried again as the German coach opted to start with a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Jermaine Jones played in defence again but he looked a lot better than he did against the Chileans and that is a project that is certain to continue through 2015.

Michael Bradley started in a deeper midfield role and controlled the game well. He opened the scoring with a ridiculously good corner that looped over LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the net.

Michael Bradley’s goal against Panama (via US Soccer on YouTube):

Gyasi Zardes made his first start for the USMNT and impressed throughout as the Galaxy forward thrived at StubHub Center in the USA shirt.

Zardes played a key role in the second goal of the game as he burst into the middle of the field before threading a perfect ball to Clint Dempsey. The Seattle Sounders forward then rounded Penedo before slotting the ball into an empty net.

Clint Dempsey’s goal against Panama (via US Soccer on YouTube):

Players will now return to their clubs as the new Major League Soccer season gets underway in less than a month.

One concern to take from the game is that DeAndre Yedlin limped off and headed straight down the tunnel. Spurs fans will hope that it is nothing serious as the pacey fullback has yet to make his debut for the Premier League club since completing his move in January.

The next time we see the USMNT in action will be at the end of March as Klinsmann’s side take on Denmark and Switzerland in a pair of tricky fixtures.

What did you make of the USMNT’s performance against Panama on Sunday?

Five takeaways: Chile 3–2 USA – What did we learn about the USMNT?

The US Men’s National Team got their 2015 campaign underway against Chile in Rancagua last night and although it was only a friendly, the game left us with plenty to think about.

Jurgen Klinsmann started the game with a 3-5-2 formation in place but a close to full strength USA side lost the game 3-2 against a Chile B side.

The Chileans have all started their new season and are much fitter than the MLS-based players who have only just started preseason training and that showed in the second-half as the USMNT let a 2-1 lead go as a result of fatigue.

Here are five things we learnt from last night’s game:

1) 3-5-2 is not the reason behind defeat and needs to be tried again.

Many questioned Klinsmann’s decision to lineup in a 3-5-2 setup against Chile on Wednesday night but the system seemed to work well overall, despite some defensive issues. The USA scored more than a single goal in a game for the first time since the World Cup which is obviously a positive but the wingback positions need more attention. DeAndre Yedlin and Brek Shea struggled to get back and defend wide areas as the USA allowed Chile to cross the ball 41 times.

As Shea opens the scoring look at how far forward he and Yedlin are

As Shea opens the scoring look at how far forward he and Yedlin are.

The still shot above shows how far forward Yedlin and Shea were willing to get from the start of the game. As Shea blasts his shot in, Yedlin is as advanced as strikers Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore. Effective in attack, but not in defence.

Klinsmann reverted to a more familiar 4-4-2 after halftime as the USA went on to lose the game 3-2, despite leading at the break. Fitness is a key issue this early in the year but the 3-5-2 experiment cannot be scrapped just yet. Needs more work.

2) Jermaine Jones is too reckless to play in the centre of a three-man backline.

Jermaine Jones played in defence once again on Wednesday, but this time at the heart of a three-man backline alongside Matt Besler and Steve Birnbaum. Jones was seemingly allowed to play where he wanted on the pitch though and he failed to stick to his position on several occasions. Being a natural midfielder – the position he thrives in for New England Revolution, Jones has a tendency to carry the ball out of defence, but he was caught on more than one occasion and Chile created chances from his turnovers as a result, with Jones then missing from defence.

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He was seemingly playing in midfield in the second-half but he uses his athleticism too much at points and goes charging into areas that he doesn’t need to. Some more tactical discipline would keep Jones in a position where he could break down an attack, but chasing the ball is not something that will help him, or his teammates.

Jones should be played in midfield alongside Bradley in the upcoming friendly against Panama to allow him to express himself in his natural position. The USA need his box-to-box athleticism, just not from defence.

3) Does a game have to have two halves?

The worrying trend of second-half slumps continued as Chile battled back to turn the game around in the second 45. The USA have now lost their last three games, and conceded nine second-half goals in their last five, a spell in which they haven’t won a game. That is a major concern. Fitness was a reasonable excuse this time around as players haven’t played a competitive game for a couple of months, but the staggering drop in performance levels as the game goes on is something that needs to be addressed quickly.

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One positive is that the USA managed to avoid conceding a goal in the final ten minutes for the first time in four games. They had conceded 11 goals in the last ten minutes of their last 11 games, but managed to stop that becoming 12 in 12 against Chile.

4) Steve Birnbaum largely impressive, Bobby Wood not so much.

Steve Birnbaum and Bobby Wood were both given their first starts in a USMNT shirt against Chile but had differing nights. DC United defender and 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year, Birnbaum played well and looked comfortable at the back, despite having to play in a back three. He almost scored an own goal in the second-half as a cross bounced off his thigh and fortunately into the arms of Nick Rimando in goal. That blunder seemed to affect him as he wasn’t as well organised for the remainder of the game, with the third Chile goal deflecting in off his leg, but that was down to fatigue as much as anything else.

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Bobby Wood started in attack alongside Jozy Altidore but didn’t offer enough of a threat, before being taken off at halftime. He’s struggling for gametime with 1860 Munich in Germany and that showed as he looked off the mark. There are better players that should start ahead of Wood for now.

5) Lee Nguyen needs to start, Gyasi Zardes showed promise.

Lee Nguyen had to settle for another substitute appearance as he gets used to life back in the USA setup, but Klinsmann should have started the New England playmaker. Nguyen has the ability to thread killer balls through – something desperately missing, but he came into the game alongside tiring teammates against a Chile side that controlled possession. Nguyen needs to start against Panama.

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Gyasi Zardes made his international debut last night and left us wanting more. The LA Galaxy striker has improved dramatically over the past 12 months and deserved his chance with the USMNT. He came on and looked lively, despite the lack of service, and forced a save late on with a shot that he will feel he could have done better with. The main thing is that he showed he can create space with his movement, and we look forward to seeing more against Panama.

What did you make of the USA game against Chile on Wednesday night?

Is Dom Dwyer the man to inspire Sporting Kansas City back to their best in 2015?

Dom Dwyer enjoyed a really bright season in MLS last campaign, with Bradley Wright-Phillips the only player to find the net on more occasions than the Sporting Kansas City star.

The 24-year-old Englishman contributed to a huge 47% of Kansas City’s goals and helped push them into the playoffs.

Don’t miss: Sporting Kansas City reward Dom Dwyer with a new contract

He will be looking to take his side one step further than they did in this years playoffs in 2015. They were unable to defend their 2013 MLS Cup title and didn’t quite have enough to beat the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference wildcard game.

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Sporting Kansas City will face a new challenge in the Western Conference next season and will look to challenge at the very top despite fierce competition from the likes of Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy.

SKC have good foundations in place to be a club who can offer a challenge to the ‘big boys’ once more in the league. Fitness may be the main reason they fell away this year as stars such as Matt Besler and Graham Zusi looked exhausted from the USMNT’s World Cup campaign.

That said, the club could still do with bringing in a couple of major players that can instantly improve the side.

We saw the difference one signing can make to a side with Jermaine Jones’s arrival at the New England Revolution in August. If Sporting KC can bring in a midfield powerhouse we could see them rise back to prominence.

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With the foundations they have to build upon they may just need a couple of signings to add to the strength and depth of the squad.

Dwyer, who has already been rewarded with a new contract, is committed to the club and will be looking to create history with his side.

His tally of 22 is a personal accolade he will be looking to build on that number next season and there is no reason why he can’t do so.

His ability to notch goals against even the best defences shows he has the capabilities to drive Sporting Kansas City back to the top of Major League Soccer’s hierarchy.  The backing he has at the club, both from the board and the fans will only be adding to his confidence – something he isn’t lacking whatsoever.

Can Dom Dwyer be the man to inspire Sporting Kansas City back to their best?

Can Jermaine Jones help New England Revolution dominate MLS in 2015?

New England Revolution will still be licking their wounds after an agonising defeat at the hands of LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup Final, but all isn’t lost and they have plenty to look forward to in next year’s campaign.

One of their key assets in the end of season run-in was USA international Jermaine Jones who joined the Revs from Turkish side Besiktas in August 2014 and went on to make 15 appearances combining the end of the regular season and New England’s MLS Cup run.

As well as his dominant midfield performances which further allowed playmaker Lee Nguyen to express himself, he also chipped in with three goals and four assists.

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With Jones in the side, New England won 11, tied two and lost two of the 15 games in which he featured – one of those being that painful 2-1 defeat after extra-time against LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup Final.

If they can continue that kind of form when the 2015 season gets underway then they will be a serious force and you would expect them to be the team to beat.

New England Revolution’s stats and projected points total with Jones on the pitch compared to without him makes for frightening reading for other MLS teams going in to the next campaign.

JJ Stats

[*Includes points that New England Revolution would have gained from MLS playoff fixtures]

The highest points tally in an MLS season came when LA Galaxy accrued a total of 68 in the 1998 season, which they did so at a rate of 2.13 points per game.

The stats show that if New England can continue to play the way they have been, then they could potentially blow that record out of the water.

Will New England Revolution break the record for the highest points tally next year?