Revs On A Streak
The New England Revolution are currently on a streak of seven games undefeated. The team looks to add to the streak, hoping for a win. New England has managed only two wins out of the last seven. The other five ended up in disappointing draws. Included in the draws, was Saturday's deadlock 1-1 against the New York Red Bulls. Head coach Bruce Arena says that the streak is nothing to applaud. Bruce is hoping to be able to get 3 points out of this game against NYCFC. He hopes to create a streak of wins instead of losing out on two deserved points in each of these games.
Arena Looking To Rotate Squad
Since the first game back from the MLS is Back tournament, Bruce Arena hasn't been at the helm of the Revs. He was red-carded in their untimely exit at the hands of the Philadephia Union in the knockout stages. He received a total of a three-game ban once the regular season started up. In his place, the assistant coach Richie Williams has done a great job getting five points out of the last three games. Arena will be back at head coach for this game against New York City.
The team will need an all-around squad rotation after three games in nine days. While Bruce was suspended, Richie Williams kept the starting line-up similar for each game. He made one change in the game against the Red Bulls, replacing Kelyn Rowe with Diego Fagundez. The players that will be rotated are the forwards and midfielders. I envision striker Justin Rennicks and winger Kekutah Manneh getting a place on the starting line-up. They will be replacing Adam Buksa and Cristian Penilla. For midfielders, Rowe will get the start again after last week's break. Tommy McNamara will replace Matt Polster, definitely exhausted after starting all three of the previous games.
NYCFC Form Unlikely To Trouble Revs
New York City FC has won their last two games. The last game against the Chicago Fire they easily won 3-1. The Fire did not have much in the way of marking against their attack. The game does not prove to me that they can handle a team with a decent defense. The Revolution currently have Matt Turner between the posts who collected the MLS goalkeeper of the week for the past two weeks. He has 24 total saves at this point in the season, with a near 80% save percentage. He has only allowed 5 goals in the past 8 games. The defense in front of him has been stellar as well.
The players I would keep an eye on that are likely to cause problems will be Alexander Ring, Alexandru Mitrita, Keaton Parks, Heber, and Maximiliano Moralez. Ring has been playing in a winger position, switching from his normal position of a defensive midfielder. He scored a goal last game and has been thriving in this new role. Mitrita served up a great pass to Keaton for the first goal of the game against the Fire. Maximiliano made the pass for the game-winning goal to Anton Tinnerholm. Moralez and Mitrita are both very fast and play heads-up soccer.
The NYCFC defense let up a very weak goal, allowing a player within the six-yard box to easily head the ball into the goal. We have Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou in the eighteen-yard box most times ready to pounce on bad defending such as this. I hope we see some of this during the game.
Into The Unknown
Both teams going into this game are in great form. The Revs have had key defensive plays save them at the right times to keep draws and wins. It is easy to say that this could continue to happen. The Revs defense has managed to keep teams to 1 goal or none, week in and week out. The Revolution need to put together multiple great crosses into the box. Bye, Jones and Buttner sending a few in the air to Buksa, a few on the ground to Bou. If they complete multiple crosses into the box, they are likely to score at least 1 of these. Bou makes chances for himself in the box or anywhere near.
NYCFC has a couple of chances to take this game. The Revolution, as of recently, has been making a few major defensive errors. If they manage to catch one of these and take advantage of it, they may punish them with accurate passes. The other area where New York City will take us to the net is the poor passes in any area on an attack. It will leave us open to counter attacks. The speed of their wing-backs and wingers can cause havoc.
The Revolution will win this one 2-1. Buksa will get back his shooting boots and bury a goal from inside the 18. Justin Rennicks will get revenge for past chances and use his soccer IQ and speed. He will tear apart the defense on a dribble and slot it past the keeper. It's likely to see the Revs let one past on a counterattack due to pushing too high. It will leave Alexander Ring open to score in his second straight game.