Preview: New England Revolution (h).
Updated: Aug 5
When? Saturday August 6, 4.30 p.m. PT, 7.30 p.m. ET and 00:30 BST (7/7).
Where? Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast via MLS Live on ESPN+ and DAZN for residents of North America. The game will be on Fox 35 Plus and LionNation TV for residents of central Florida. Radio commentary is available locally through 96.9 The Game and Accion 97.9. The game is not currently scheduled for UK broadcast.
Orlando City head into this home game against a struggling New England Revolution, desperately clinging on to the notion of a play-off berth. The Lion's run to the US Open Cup Final is fantastic, and presents this team with a real chance at silverware. However, this run does not completely mask their current malaise in MLS.
Orlando's form has left a tangible taste of melancholy and enervation for many supporters, including myself. I would encourage anyone who believes we are nailed on for a top 7 finish to think again. In terms of league form, we are on a downward trajectory right now, whilst the likes of Inter Fort Lauderdale and Chicago Fire begin to build up some momentum below the line. The gap is only one point. There are feasible scenarios where we end up finishing the weekend in 9th. This game is must win.
New England's style
This hasn't been New England's season so far. Last season's Supporters Shield winners suffered during the early stages of the campaign, due to the all too familiar CONCACAF Champions League curse. A typically well organised Bruce Arena side, the Revs play with a back 4 and accompanying midfield double pivot. They are a team that like to keep things compact centrally, that like to try and dominate possession of the ball (figure 1).
The trouble is, they haven't been able to attack games with the same intensity as last year. They rank 24th for possession won in the final third, whereas they ranked 11th in 2021 (figure 2). They're also creating far less chances, despite the best efforts of Carles Gil. In 2021, they led the league in chance creation. Now, they have a predicted rank of 24th. They're XG ranking is also down considerably, from 3rd to a predicted 22nd. For some reason, things aren't clicking in the final third. Gustavo Bou's recent injuries, and the departure of Adam Buksa to RC Lens haven't helped. They need to find a way to make things work soon if they're to have any hope of salvaging their season.
Figure 1 shows some possession statistics for the Revs on the season so far.
Figure 2 shows New England's 'possession won in the final third' ranking.
For the New England Revolution, they are going to be without Jacob Jackson through injury, whilst Gustavo Bou is listed as questionable.
Orlando City are without Mason Stajduhar and Joey DeZart. New signing Wilder Cartagena is unlikely to feature as he's still awaiting receipt of his visa, same for Ivan Angulo. Mauricio Pereyra has been in full training and should be available.
Edit 8/5/22: Only Joey DeZart is listed as out on the injury report.
This section will be updated as new information becomes available.
Possible starting XI
I think, given that they've had a full rest week, and managed to avoid defeat last time out, the Revs will name a settled XI in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation:
Despite the Revs' struggles, the former Aston Villa playmaker has maintained a relatively high level. Through 22 matches, the Spaniard has 4 goals and 6 assists. He has an overall rating of 8.00 on fotmob.com, which speaks to his overall consistency. With close ball control, excellent movement and a killer eye for a pass, Gil is one of the best players in MLS. Gil has created a huge 79 chances for his teammates and has completed 62 dribbles at a success rate of 64%. Orlando are going to have to shut him down if they want to get anything from this game.
The Revs head into this game in pretty wretched form, having gone winless in their last 6, drawing 4 and losing the other 2. They're not out of the play-off picture by any means; they currently sit 11th on a 6-9-7 record, 3 points below the line.
Orlando City, are in equally terrible form (US Open Cup aside). The Lions have won 1 of their last 7 in MLS and currently sit 5th with an 8-6-9 record.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com
Cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Line-up graphic courtesy of Orlando City SC.