MLS Preview and Prediction: Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium – Sunday, July 2 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)
Match Odds: Philadelphia 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – New England 11/5

Match Preview

Philadelphia Union take on New England Revolution in an important Eastern Conference battle on Sunday evening. The two sides are separated by just a point as we enter the second half of the season, so this should be an exciting matchup.

Both will be disappointed to be outside the playoffs at the halfway point but they have more than enough time to turn their form around and make a charge for success over the next few months.

The Union snapped a three-game losing streak with their 1-0 win over DC United last weekend but followed that up with a disappointing penalty shootout loss to the New York Red Bulls in Wednesday’s US Open Cup clash.

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Jim Curtin’s men have won four of their last five MLS games at Talen Energy Stadium. That will feel the home fans with confidence ahead of this crunch tie.

New England had a lot more luck in their US Open Cup game on Wednesday. They edged past DC United 2-1 to pick spirits up after a tough couple of weeks. They’ve lost their last two league games and know this is a must-win game.

The Revs have really struggled away from home this season. They haven’t won a single game and have lost six of their nine road trips in MLS this term. They must end that worrying trend quickly to have any chance of securing a playoff spot come the end of October.

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This will be the 19th MLS meeting between the two sides and the first of two clashes in July, with the Revs hosting Philadelphia at the end of the month in the reverse fixture. The Union hold the advantage based on previous games, having won nine of the 18 matchups and outscoring the Revs 31-24.

Team News

Philadelphia Union will once again be without captain Alejandro Bedoya as a result of his involvement with the USMNT for the upcoming Gold Cup. Maurice Edu remains out through injury, along with Richie Marquez, Brian Carroll, Fabian Herbers and Warren Creavalle.

New England travel to Philly without Xavier Kouassi, who is struggling with a thigh strain, while fellow midfielder Daigo Kobayashi is a doubt with a hamstring injury. Juan Agudelo is away with the USMNT squad for their friendly with Ghana on Saturday and won’t be involved here.

Key Points

Philadelphia Union’s form: W/L/L/L/W

NE Revolution’s form: L/D/W/L/L

Key Stat: New England are the only Eastern Conference side yet to win an away game in MLS in 2017. They have picked up just three points from a possible 27 on the road.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – If New England are going to take anything from Sunday’s clash, they’ll need their star man to put in a strong performance. He has six goals and seven assists in 17 games this season and will expect to add to that tally against a Philadelphia side that have conceded more home goals than any other side in the East this campaign.

Score Prediction

Philadelphia Union 2-1 New England Revolution – This is likely to be a close-fought battle in what is an important clash between two sides that need three points to get back into playoff contention. New England’s terrible away form makes it hard to see them winning here. While the Union will hope to keep their good run at Talen Energy Stadium going by picking up another narrow victory. Both will expect to score but this one should be close.


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 – Wednesday, April 19 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST) 
Match Odds: New England 3/4 – Draw 5/2 – San Jose 100/30

Match Preview

New England Revolution take on San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night as Week 8 starts early in a clash between two sides that have been inconsistent through the first few weeks of the 2017 season.

The Revs fell 3-0 in Chicago on Saturday, with the early dismissal of Je-Vaughn Watson doing little to help their cause. The Fire dominated the game thereafter and handed New England a third away loss of the season.

Jay Heaps has a talented squad at his disposal again this season, but their inconsistency is proven by the fact that they have only won back-to-back MLS games once in the past 13 months.

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The boost for them this week is that they have two games on home soil to try and climb up the Eastern Conference. They welcome DC United to Gillette Stadium on Saturday after the visit of San Jose on Wednesday and many will feel the Revs have a strong chance of picking up maximum points from the two games.

San Jose tend to struggle on the road, while New England have won both of their home games so far this season, with both coming against Western opposition.

The Earthquakes come into this midweek game off the back of a dramatic 1-1 draw at home to FC Dallas on Friday night. The Quakes looked beaten but got the all-important equaliser with just seconds remaining in stoppage time.

That last-gasp Jahmir Hyka goal made it back-to-back draws for the Earthquakes, who are without a win in four after opening the season with consecutive home win.

Their only two road trips so far have ended in 2-1 losses to Sporting Kansas City and New York City FC, so it’s easy to understand why they are underdogs for Wednesday’s trip to Foxborough.

These two sides met once last season, drawing 0-0 at Avaya Stadium in late August. New England had won three in a row prior to that, with San Jose’s last win against the Revs coming five years ago.

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Team News

New England boss Jay Heaps is fortunate to have no injuries to worry about ahead of the visit of San Jose. However, Je-Vaughn Watson will miss out after being sent off in the 3-0 loss at Chicago. Heaps is likely to make a few alterations to keep the squad fresh ahead of the weekend visit of DC United.

San Jose head coach Dominic Kinnear will be tempted to name an unchanged side to the one that fought back to earn a draw against Dallas but he also had another Week 8 game to consider. Quincy Amarikwa remains out, along with Marvell Wynne, Marc Pelosi and Harold Cummings. Simon Dawkins and Andres Imperiale are still listed as ‘questionable’.

Key Points

NE Revolution’s form: L/W/D/W/L

SJ Earthquakes’ form: W/L/L/D/D

Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes haven’t won an away game in MLS since August. They have now only picked up one road win in their last 21 regular season games.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – The Revs have hardly set the world alight so far this season but Lee Nguyen has looked impressive, scoring three goals and picking up one assist in six outings so far. Most the Revolution’s best play will come through him and he’ll be looking to unlock the San Jose defence from the outset.

Score Prediction

New England Revolution 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes – San Jose have already lost two away games 2-1 this year and they could be set for a third defeat by the same scoreline on Wednesday. The Quakes are an attacking threat but struggle to keep opponents out away from home. New England have scored seven in their two home games so far and will expect to pick up three points in the first of two matches in front of their own fans this week.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Minnesota United

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Minnesota United
Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, March 25 – 14:00 ET (18:00 GMT)
Match Odds: New England Revolution 2/5 – Draw 100/30 – Minnesota United 13/2

Match Preview

New England play their first home match of the season on Saturday night, with Minnesota United making the trip to Gillette Stadium with both sides still looking for their first win of 2017.

Having lost both games so far, the Revolution are already off the pace in the race for the playoffs. Of course they are only two games in, but points on the board will be essential come crunch time and the Revs need to pick up quickly as a result.

Their home game with Orlando City was postponed two weeks ago due to bad weather but New England will now hope that playing in front of their own fans will see their fortunes improve.

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Failing to win here would put serious questions on the direction of the franchise after two seasons which have seen the side underperform after reaching the 2014 MLS Cup Final. It cannot be long before Jay  Heaps’ position is put under scrutiny if things don’t turn around.

On the flip side, Adrian Heath will be in charge for only his fourth competitive match as Minnesota manager. However, his disappointing time in Orlando has left his critics with a lot to mull over and a quick turnaround after a slow start would do both Heath, and the team the world of good.

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As Minnesota still search for a debut win in MLS, they will have to dismantle a run of four-straight home wins in MLS for the Revolution stretching back to last season. They will also need to try and shut the flood gates at the back, which have seen them concede 13 goals in only three games thus far.

Like we mentioned before, this game is an interesting one. Both sides are desperately craving three points and so we are expecting an open affair. Minnesota will have to prove their squad depth with so many players away on international duty or on the sidelines with injuries.

Team News

New England Revolution will be without goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who misses out with a concussion. Zachary Herivaux is listed as questionable with a right ankle sprain. The Revs are fortunate to have no international call-ups to contend with as they look for their first points of the season.

Minnesota United are missing eight for the trip to Boston and are set to only be able to name a 17-man squad as a result. Bernardo Anor and John Alvbage are out with leg injuries, while Patrick McLain and Joseph Greenspan are both out with concussions.Thomas de Villardi has suffered a serious injury and is expected to be out for some time. On the international front, Kevin Molino (Trinidad), Francisco Calvo (Costa Rica) and Rasmus Schuller (Finland) are all away and won’t be involved. Justin Davis is suspended after picking up a red card last weekend.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s form: L/L

Minnesota United’s form: L/L/D

Key Stat: Minnesota United have conceded a total of 13 goals in their opening three fixtures – an average of 4.3 per game.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – The Revolution’s maestro should be the most creative player on the park come Saturday and could see plenty of the ball to cause trouble against a Minnesota defence that has proven to be the most vulnerable in the league through the first month of the new season.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 2-1 Minnesota United – Both sides are out of form and struggling to adapt to the most competitive MLS season to date. Minnesota have the excuse of being the new guys but will likely struggle with so many players absent for their trip to Boston. This is a big game for the home side and we see the Revolution edging it, just.

MLS Fantasy Focus: Who should you be looking at for Week 5?

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

The weekend which was used to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first game of Major League Soccer brought us everything we have come to expect from this ever-developing league. There were goals, star names shining through and a whole host of colourful kits on display. This season is already turning into an MLS classic and it’s only just begun.

Week 4 Review

The Good:

It’s fair to say that the Seattle Sounders have performed well below expectations so far this season, having lost their first three fixtures of the season. However, US international Clint Dempsey ($10.9), fresh from scoring for his country against Guatemala, netted a crucial goal to give his side their first win of the season over Montreal last weekend. Meanwhile, ‘super sub’ Adam Jahn ($5.5) netted six minutes after coming on the field to rescue San Jose Earthquakes a late point at home to winless DC United. Orlando City defender Seb Hines ($7.6) opened the scoring in his side’s convincing 4-1 victory against MLS Cup holders Portland Timbers. The defender earned a total of 9 points to help his side climb to the top of the Eastern Conference and remain unbeaten. Trinidadian teammate Kevin Molino ($8.1) won and converted a penalty late in the game, earning 12 points to rank him amongst the highest point-scorers of the week. However, the standout scorer from Orlando’s game and undoubtedly the player of the week was Kaka ($10.7), who contributed two assists and a goal on his way to picking up 16 points in his first appearance of the season.

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The Bad:

Toronto midfielder Benoit Cheyrou ($7.2) was treated to an early bath as he picked up two yellow cards within the first 13 minutes of his side’s away defeat to the Rapids. This was the fastest red card of the season so far and a feat I’m sure Cheyrou won’t be planning to repeat. He certainly won’t be repeating it in Week 5 as he will be suspended for the game away to the struggling Revs. There were a total of four red cards this week, with Philadelphia’s Warren Creavalle ($5.7), the Red Bulls’ Felipe Martins ($8.3) and Vancouver’s Matias Laba ($7.3) all leaving their team down to ten men. No team that was reduced to ten men managed to score this week – leaving a stark reminder of the dangers of going a man down. It was a bad day for the Portland defence in general, who conceded four goals away to Orlando, so any fans of debutant Jack Barmby ($6.9), may feel slightly disappointed at his performance.

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Week 5 Preview

The Must Buys:

As has already been mentioned, Kaka ($10.7) has come back from injury with a bang – so anyone with a bit of leeway in their budget should invest in the former Ballon d’Or winner before his price skyrockets. Joao Plata ($9.4) is still incredible value for money at under $10 and is the highest scoring striker so far this season with 41 points – an average of over 10 points per game. Daniel Steres ($5.2) is also proving fantastic value for money as the 25 year old is establishing himself as a regular in the LA Galaxy defence. He has gone some way to filling the enormous void (literally and metaphorically) that the departure of 6ft 7ins Omar Gonzalez left.

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The Must Sells:

The New York Red Bulls have lost even more players to injury and now Felipe to suspension so things aren’t getting any easier for Jesse Marsch. It might be best to avoid having Red Bulls players in your side for the next few weeks as I would be surprised if they put in any high scoring performances. It’s over to Bradley Wright-Phillips ($10.8) and Sacha Kljestan ($11.2) to prove me wrong. Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen ($11.0) also needs to start proving that he is worth that vast sum of money – as Kaka looks much the better option for a team’s midfield and he even comes at a cheaper price at this point.

Who will you be bringing into your MLS Fantasy team for Week 5?

2016 MLS Season Preview: New England Revolution

As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what New England Revolution will be striving for this season.

New England Revolution will be disappointed with the way the 2015 season went, considering they were runners-up in the 2014 MLS Cup Final. 2015 marked a drastic drop in performance despite strengthening their squad with the addition of Juan Agudelo. The highlight of last term was the six-game win streak from the beginning of August through to the middle of September. However, the five-game losing streak in June through to July balanced that out to make it a rather average season. With only one win in their final five matches they also failed to finish strongly and they will need to turn things around quickly in 2016 to ensure they remain competitive at the very top of the Eastern Conference.

Last season’s finish:

Eastern Conference – Position: 5th – P34 – W14 – D8 – L12

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What needs to change this year?

It sounds so simple, but they will need to score more goals and stop conceding so many if they are to improve this year. On various occasions last term they failed to have the clinicism needed to see out games and that is something that needs addressing this year. On the defensive side of the ball, they shipped a total of 35 goals away from home compared to just 12 at Gillette Stadium, which speaks volumes for their defensive performances in front of their own fans. But their poor away form negates the good work of that home form. Consistency is key in every aspect of football and a more consistent Revs team may surpass expectations this term. They will need to adapt to the loss of Jermaine Jones and doing so quickly will dictate how they perform in 2016.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Sambinha – Defender, Jordan McCrary – Defender, Xavier Kouassi  Midfielder & Gershon Koffie  Midfielder

Outs: Trevor Spangenberg – Goalkeeper, Kevin Alston – Defender, Jeremy Hall – Defender, Timi Mulgrew – Midfielder, Tyler Rudy – Midfielder, Jermaine Jones – Midfielder, Andy Dorman –Midfielder & Sean Okoli  Forward

Key Player:

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Lee Nguyen – Midfielder – USMNT international Nguyen was the most creative player for the Revs once again last season, despite failing to match his fine numbers from the 2014 campaign, and we’re expecting another influential season this year. The loss of Jermaine Jones will affect him the most as it means he may have to drop deeper to receive the ball but his effortless poise on the ball should see New England remain dangerous in the final third regardless. He is one of league’s most creative playmakers and needs to continue to be a catalyst for the Revolution.

One to Watch:

Diego Fagundez – Midfielder – Young midfielder Fagundez is yet to make a major impact on MLS, despite impressing over the past few seasons. He has a lot of potential going forward and will hope to feature more as a starter this year as opposed to having to settle for substitute appearances. He’s been with the Revs since 2011, after signing a professional contract from their academy, so it’s time he made his mark in the team. He’s entering his sixth MLS campaign but is remarkably still just 21 years of age.

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Predicted Finish

Eastern Conference – 8th – The Revs have lost one of their key men in Jermaine Jones and will find it hard to bounce back from such a loss this term. Their late season form last season might be a glimpse of what is to come with a tougher spell for the franchise possibly on the way. We expect them to endure a tough transitional year, with a playoff push perhaps out of reach. Jay Heaps is a great coach, however, and he will be doing all he can to ensure New England Revolution remain competitive in 2016.

What are you expecting from New England Revolution in 2016?

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union 

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, September 26 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 4/6 – Draw 3/1 – Philadelphia Union 15/4

Match Preview

New England Revolution host the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night and will look to recover their imperious form after suffering a 3-0 loss to Montreal last time out.

New England’s current form sees them in a strong position going into the playoffs as they look certain to be MLS Cup contenders once again. A win here will guarantee a playoff spot and the home fans will expect nothing less than three points.

Being only two points off the Eastern Conference leading Red Bulls, the Revs have a strong chance of still winning the conference, and with back-to-back MLS Cup finals a real possibility, the Revs are a force to be feared.

New England Revolution’s record in MLS: P30 – W13 – D7 – L10

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At the opposite end of the Eastern Conference are the Philadelphia Union, who have lost half of their 30 MLS games so far this year.

Currently sitting six points off Montreal Impact in the hunt for the last playoff spot, the Union are basically all but out of the race for that prestigious sixth spot, unless something truly special happens for them.

They are sitting second from bottom in the Supporters’ Shield standings with four games to play, so it’s been another tough season and there’s plenty of room to improve once more going into the next campaign.

Philadelphia Union’s record in MLS: P30 – W9 – D6 – L15

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Team News

New England Revolution are still without Darrius Barnes as he is still out with a torn patellar tendon. However, the rest of Jay Heaps’ squad are available and will be fighting for starting roles.

Philadelphia Union will be missing Jimmy McLaughlin through a concussion injury. Andrew Wenger, Fernando Aristeguieta and Brian Sylvestre are all doubts but could feature.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s last five: W/W/W/W/L

Philadelphia Union’s last five: W/L/W/L/W

Key Stat: New England have only lost once at home in their last 25 MLS matches.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – USMNT playmaker Nguyen is the gem of the pack and a huge asset to his side. Expect him to create countless chances and cause the Union’s defence real problems from the outset.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 2-0 Philadelphia Union – We’re not expecting any surprises here as New England are one of the teams to beat at the moment in MLS. And away from home, the Union have only managed three wins. Comfortable home win for us.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Toronto

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Toronto

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, August 1 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 21/20 – Draw 13/5 – Toronto 11/5

Match Preview

New England Revolution host Toronto in a key Eastern Conference clash this weekend with the sides level on 28 points.

New England come into the game off the back of a 2-2 away draw with Chicago Fire. They have lost five of their last seven but finally ended their five-game losing streak in their last home game two weeks ago and are now looking back on track.

Jay Heaps will be looking to guide his team to a second straight MLS Cup final but they need to ensure they pick up more wins through the final stretch of the season to give them any chance.

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A win against Toronto this weekend would see them move ahead of the Canadian side and would reinforce confidence that the Revs will make the playoffs without too much trouble.

That won’t be easy against a Toronto side that have only lost one of their last six games though. The Red have netted nine in their last three as Sebastian Giovinco has been in unstoppable form.

Winning games is still an issue for Greg Vanney’s team as they’ve won just one of their last five. An away trip to New England will prove a stiff test but the Reds will be confident after coming from 3-0 down to earn a 3-3 draw at Columbus Crew last weekend.

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The earlier meeting between the two this season saw the game end 1-1 at Gillette Stadium as a fine Michael Bradley goal cancelled out Juan Agudelo’s first-half strike.

Team News

New England look set to be without, Darrius Barnes and Kevin Alston is a doubt. Lee Nguyen and London Woodberry are both one caution away from a suspension.

Toronto have seven injury concerns. Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund, Luke Moore, Clement Simonin and Michael Bradley all look set to miss out, while Ashtone Morgan and Sebastian Giovinco are doubts. Collen Warner is suspended.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s last five in MLS: L/L/L/W/D

Toronto’s last five in MLS: D/L/D/W/D

Key Stat: Fortress – New England Revolution are undefeated in 20 of their last 21 home games.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Atomic Ant missed the MLS All-Star Game through injury on Wednesday but should be fit to start here and will hurt the Revs if so. He’s unstoppable of late and is a constant threat for opposition defences.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 2-2 Toronto FC – Another draw looks to be the most likely result here between two sides desperate to avoid defeat at the top end of the Eastern Conference.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution 

Venue: Toyota Park – Saturday, July 25 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – New England Revolution 12/5

Match Preview

Chicago Fire host last season’s MLS Cup finalists New England Revolution on Saturday night with both sides in desperate need of win, and fast.

Chicago have the worst record in the league to date, being the only side with a points per game ratio below one.

With just one win in their last eight, Chicago need to start picking up points soon, as a playoff spot still isn’t out of the question with three months to go.

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They must start by making Toyota Park an absolute fortress as we approach the end of the campaign and a win against the Revs this week would be a real boost.

Chicago Fire’s 2015 record in MLS: P22 – W7 – D6 – L9

New England aren’t much better off as they have picked up only three points out of a possible eighteen in their last six.

They ended a five-game losing streak at home to NYCFC last weekend and will hope to record back-to-back wins for the first time in three months here.

There is no question that New England have struggled to replicate their form of 2014, and will need the star pairing of Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones back to fitness and in form if they are to come close to the MLS Cup final again.

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New England’s 2015 record in MLS: P19 – W5 – D3 – L11

They have the third worst away record in MLS this season and will be looking to win on the road for just the third time in 2015 in what should be a tight game in Chicago.

Team News

Chicago Fire are without Shaun Maloney and Jeff Larentowicz through injury and Ty Harden is a doubt for the clash. Jason Johnson is suspended.

New England Revolution are missing Darius Barnes and Jermaine Jones through injury. Kevin Alston is a doubt with a hamstring strain. Jose Goncalves is suspended.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s last five: L/D/W/L/L

New England’s last five: L/L/L/L/W

Key Stat: New England Revolution have lost their last six away matches in MLS.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – 2014 MVP candidate Nguyen is still the star man for this New England side and they’ll need all his creativity come Saturday as they desperately need to hit form as they approach the end of the season.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-2 New England Revolution – Both sides are in bad run of form, but the Revolution should have enough to edge it, even with their dreadful record away from home in recent times hanging over them.

Evolution not Revolution the catalyst for success in New England

By Sandy Beeson – Twitter: @Sandy_Beeson

With a quarter of the season already gone we’re beginning to see how the contenders are faring in MLS. Alongside early front-runners FC Dallas, Vancouver Whitecaps and DC United are last season’s MLS Cup runners-up New England Revolution. Having bounced back from an injury-ravaged start to the season, head coach Jay Heaps has been quietly building one of the best teams in the league.

New England were the surprise package of the 2014 MLS season. A promising start had been wiped out by a franchise record eight losses in a row but, despite being sixth in the Eastern Conference in late July, the Revolution stormed the league in the second half of the campaign eventually winning their way to the MLS Cup final.

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They lost out to LA Galaxy on that occasion but current form suggests they might not be waiting too long to have another crack at the MLS Cup. Winning the trophy this year would represent only the second piece of silverware lifted in the club’s history, having been one of the founding members of MLS in 1996.

Their first trophy was the US Open Cup in 2007 during the team’s golden years when they finished MLS Cup runners-up three years on the bounce. Heaps was a mainstay in the Revolution’s defence during that time but, as he came to the end of his career, the foundations of the current side were beginning to be laid.

The 2009 MLS SuperDraft provided a number of future stars for the league with the likes of Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler joining. New England picked up defensive duo Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes, who both featured frequently alongside Heaps in his final year before retiring. Young goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was signed on a free transfer while versatile midfielder/defender Chris Tierney had been brought in the season before.

With previous coach Steve Nicol’s 10-year reign unravelling, New England turned to Heaps to oversee the team’s transformation. From the start, Heaps recruited wisely with future stalwarts AJ Soares, Stephen McCarthy, Andrew Farrell and Kelyn Rowe coming in successive SuperDrafts. Even more encouraging was the emergence of academy prospects Diego Fagundez and Scott Caldwell.

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In his first season, the Revolution finished bottom of the Eastern Conference just as they had done under Nicols the year before. In 2013 however, with a teenage Fagundez firing 13 goals, they finished 7th overall in MLS and reached the playoffs for the first time since Heaps’ last season as a player.

Another improvement last season, 5th overall as well as the playoff success, has seen New England emerge as one of the best sides in the league.

A squad that has been gradually built up over the course of several seasons, capped off by the signing of Designated Player Jermaine Jones last summer, has proven to be greater than the sum of it’s parts. The loss of Soares, McCarthy and 2014 MLS SuperDraft pick-up Patrick Mullins has done little to slow the progress of the Revolution, whose strength in depth has come to the fore after a rocky start.

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Losses in the season openers away at Seattle Sounders and New York City, combined with a disappointing 0-0 draw with Montreal Impact, gave New England a poor start to the season, albeit without the talismanic Jones. Five wins in their next seven matches has emphatically answered any critics with Heaps’ well-balanced side and options off the bench proving a formidable challenge for any side in the league.

Jones has been paired up with youngster Farrell at the heart of a sturdy defence with the team conceding just four goals since the US international came back into the side, having missed the start of the campaign with injury. In front of them, a midfield engine consisting of any two from Caldwell, Andy Dorman and Jose Goncalves provides protection whilst allowing the array of attacking talents Revolution have to go forward with freedom.

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Arguably the signing of the close season was the capture of Juan Agudelo after his failed European adventure and the US international striker has teamed up effectively with a rejuvenated Charlie Davies. That’s not to mention 2014 MLS MVP candidate Lee Nguyen, who has yet to hit his sensational heights this season, and the fast-improving Rowe, who has relished the chance to take on a more attacking role.

A steely defence combined with a productive attack makes New England one of the most formidable teams in the league. They are the joint third highest-scoring side with 14 goals, and boast seven different goalscorers. They already have ten different players with an assist to their name too. The ominous signs for the rest of MLS are that for Heaps’ well-built team the best is yet to come.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City SC vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City SC vs. New England Revolution

Venue: Orlando Citrus Bowl – Friday, May 8th – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – New England Revolution 15/8

Match Preview

Orlando City host New England Revolution in the opening fixture of the weekend at the Citrus Bowl on Friday night.

The Lions are still yet to win at home in MLS and this will no doubt be adding pressure on Adrian Heath with every passing home game without a victory. His side have now lost two on the bounce, including last weekend’s home defeat to Toronto, and they are going to have to put that winless run at home to bed sooner rather than later.

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Orlando have only scored six goals this season and worryingly only found the net once at home in four games. They desperately need Kaka to lead the side and if they can get a positive result here it could spur them on their way to better things in their debut campaign.

New England Revolution are really showing their class and have extended their unbeaten run to seven games after last weekend’s 2-1 home victory against the New York Red Bulls. They sit at the top of the Eastern Conference, racking up 17 points from their opening nine games.

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Jay Heaps and his side inflicted the Red Bulls with their first loss of the season and they will not be taking any prisoners in this tie as he will expect nothing less than three points.

Charlie Davies will be hoping he can kick on after last weekend’s strike which was his third of the season. Goals have been easy to come by for the Revs, with five coming from midfield and seven from the forward line already.

Team News

Orlando City will be without Tally Hall, Pedro Ribeiro, Martin Paterson, Lewis Neal and Tony Cascio through injury. Kevin Molino is out for the season after tearing his ACL, though Rafael Ramos will return after serving his ban. Amobi Okugo is one booking away from a suspension and given Heath’s injury woes he will be hoping he can avoid another caution.

New England Revolution have a near fully fit squad and no suspensions to worry about. Darrius Barnes is sidelined while Daigo Kobayashi could be set to miss out again. Andy Dorman is one booking away from a suspension. Heaps will be hoping for a straightforward win here as the confidence continues to build.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: D/L/W/L/L

New England Revolution’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Orlando’s dreadful home start to their inaugural MLS campaign cannot be ignored, scoring just once and yet to notch a win. It is only a matter of time before their fans will be calling for things to change.

Key Player: Charlie Davies – The in-form forward could be in for a game full of chances if the Revs dominate this one.
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Score Prediction

Orlando City 0-2 New England Revolution – The Revs should come away with all three points but nothing can be ruled out as we have seen on so many occasions already this season. Orlando have struggled to produce at home and a game against the league leader’s will be a real test.