New England Revolution to win
New England Revolution are the favorites going into their game against Real Salt Lake this weekend. The two sides meet at the Gillette Stadium, and have made identical starts to their respective seasons.
The Revs have had the upper hand in recent meetings between these two at home, going unbeaten in their last three meetings, which have included a convincing 4-1 win and a rollicking 3-3 draw. In the last 6 meetings between these sides – home and away – Real Salt Lake have only managed to win once, and that was at their home ground.
Salt Lake are looking to build on a solid start to their season, where they’ve picked up a win and a draw and currently sit in 5th place in the Western Conference. The Revs will be their first big challenge of the season though, and we’re not so sure they will be able to get on the scoring sheet – so far, they’ve scored one goal from 2 games.
New England Revolution started their season with a draw at Portland Timbers before picking up a win at home against FC Dallas. They got better in the midweek and defeated Pumas in the CONCACAF Champions League 3-0.
Brandon Bye scored the first goal of the season for New England, and they were in complete control of the game against the Timbers. Dairon Asprilla managed to pull the home side back on level terms, but Sebastian Lletget opened his account on debut for the visitors to regain the lead within 2 minutes.
New England continued to control the game and force the Timbers to shoot quite a lot from outside the box. Their defense was finally breached through a spectacular overhead kick from Yimmi Chará. That result hurt the Revs, who had been fairly impressive and looked good for 3 points that evening.
Head coach Bruce Arena was determined to win their first home game of the season, and his players obliged. Although the performance was far from perfect.
New England needed a penalty from Carles Gil to help them beat FC Dallas at the Gillette Stadium. Their 4-3-1-2, tailored to suit an explosive line of attackers, did not seem to work, with Dallas being far better with the ball in the midfield. Gustavo Bou found it hard to link up with his teammates, who were kept limited to their halves as they bore a pretty persistent attack from Dallas that ultimately came to nothing for them.
On Wednesday, it was a completely different story in the CONCACAF Champions League, as they found their mojo in front of goal and dominated Pumas throughout.
Their possession of the ball reduced in the second half, but they managed to get two more goals to seal the win. Adam Buksa scored in the 72nd minute to double their lead, before scoring another in injury time to make it 3-0 to the home side and cap of their best performance since the MLS began two weeks earlier.
Once again this week, the home side will be without Matt Turner, which is something they’ll need to get used to as the goalkeeper is Arsenal-bound in July.
Real Salt Lake are unbeaten after their first two matches in the MLS season, but their performances haven’t quite reflected what their position in the table does. On the other hand though, given their pre-season form of two losses and two draws in their friendlies, their fans will be delighted they have made a positive start to the season.
They started with a goalless draw at Houston Dynamo before edging out a 1-0 win over pre-season title favorites Seattle Sounders in their first home game of the season. Dynamos dominated the game from start to the end and were unlucky to have drawn their match against Salt Lake. The away side had just 38% of the ball and just 2 shots on target throughout the game.
Things did improve against the Sounders, where they managed 8 shots on target to the away side’s 4 – that proved enough for a clean sheet and a 1-0 win. Bobby Wood scored just seconds after kick-off in the second half, which helped calm some nerves in the crowd before the match turned once again into Salt Lake being organized and resolute in defense to hold on to their lead.
That seems like an early-season template from Salt Lake, and we think the rest of this season will be marked by a similarly cautious approach. While it has brought them results so far, they will be inviting danger trying to persist with such a system that is not bringing them goals.
Real Salt Lake will be without Damir Kreilach, Rubio Rubin, David Ochoa, and Nick Besler this weekend as well. They have a theoretical chance of finishing on top of the Western Conference if some other results go their way, but it will require a pretty convincing win on their part in the first place.
|New England Revolution vs Real Salt Lake|
|Teams||New England Revolution vs Real Salt Lake|
|Time||Saturday, March 12 at 7.30 pm EST|
|How to watch||MLS LIVE on ESPN+, MLS LIVE on DAZN, TV38 & MyRITV|
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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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