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Both sides will head into this game thinking they should be a lot higher on the table because of the level of expectation that surrounds them every season, but they’re currently in mid-table fighting for playoffs spots in their respective conferences.
Los Angeles Galaxy are just within it for the time being and the New England Revolution are just outside it but a few games could change things for both sides. The margins are really narrow at the moment and neither side can afford to drop points. This should be a tense encounter with both teams having played each other 32 times so far, New England Revolution coming out on top 13 times, Los Angeles Galaxy 12 times, and seven matches ending in a draw. There’s little between these two teams historically but Los Angeles Galaxy at their best are the better side. It looks like they might edge this one.
LA Galaxy have won in the last two meetings between these sides and were comfortable 4-0 winners back in February in a club friendly. At the time, New England Revolution did not look ready for the MLS season but have made a steady recovery to give themselves every chance of making the playoffs.
The win might give LA Galaxy a psychological edge heading into this tie but there’ll be a lot more on the line when they face each other this time around.
New England Revolution’s five-match unbeaten run came to an end after a 4-0 trouncing from CF Montreal last weekend. Whatever momentum last season’s Supporters Shield winners were building came to an abrupt end after Romell Quioto, Kei Kamara and Matko Milijevic put them to the sword.
New England haven’t been good away from home all season and CF Montreal have been one of the in-form teams in the league, so it’s not a great surprise that things got nasty for the former. The defensive organization from New England was extremely poor on the day, conceding 18 shots with seven of them on target. They’ll have to quickly put this game behind them and show some resilience against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa remain New England Revolution’s top goalscorers for the season with seven goals each. The former has been out since May and the latter has joined Ligue 1 side Lens. More information isn’t required to see why the New England Revolution have struggled this season. They got a record 71 points last season but are a completely different team without the players that helped them get there last season.
That cycle has come to an end and they need to build a new team. This will take time and Bou’s eventual return should help the team but with no expected return date, they’ll have to come with new solutions if they want to make the playoffs.
One of the issues with the team all season has been their inflexibility without the players that made them so strong last season. It is one thing to stick with a philosophy but a few tweaks to that set-up till they find the ideal replacements shouldn’t be so hard.
Their underlying numbers don’t suggest that they’re going to make it to the playoffs at the moment. They’ve scored 38 with expected goal numbers of 34.2 and conceded 40 with expected goals against numbers of 38.2. They’ll be hoping that home advantage heading into this match powers them through but that won’t be enough to make it to the playoffs.
Gustavo Bou has been out since May with a leg injury.
A late Dejan Joveljic penalty gave LA Galaxy a crucial point against the Sounders last weekend in a thrilling 3-3 tie but the team will have been disappointed to have taken a 2-0 first half lead before crumbling in the second half.
On the positive side, Riqui Puig made his first appearance for the club off the bench after signing for Barcelona.
Puig couldn’t quite find regular game time at Barcelona during a couple of difficult seasons for the club but his talent has never been in doubt. A La Masia graduate, he shares many of the traits of a Barcelona player from his ability to dribble out of trouble, short passing game and willingness to defend from the front. His physicality was sometimes seen as an issue at the highest level in European football but he should have no trouble dealing with that in the MLS.
He seemed fairly excited about the news and has claimed that many young players will be joining the MLS over the coming years and that it has the potential to become one of the best in the world.
The team has scored 12 goals in their last four games, which is a highly encouraging sign because they’ve underperformed on their expected goals all season. Even now, they’ve only scored 40 goals from an expected goal value of 43.2. A little luck in a few games should even that out and it does seem like LA Galaxy are finding the back of the net with regularity at exactly the right moment with so much on the line.
Left-back Jorge Villafana has been out since March with a knee issue and has undergone surgery. There is no expected return date.
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|Teams||New England Revolution vs Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Time||Sunday, 28 August at 8 pm ET onwards|
|How to watch||ESPN+, DAZN, TV38, & MyRITV and Spectrum SportsNet|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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