Preview | Focus shifts to league play as Revs aim for second straight win at New York City FC


MLS Regular Season | Match #7
New England Revolution at New York City FC
Saturday, April 13 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Yankee Stadium | Bronx, New York

Watch: _MLS Season Pass_ on Apple TV
English Talent: Chris Wittyngham (play-by-play), Lori Lindsey (analyst)
Spanish Talent: Raul Guzman (play-by-play), Carlos Ruiz (analyst)

Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2 (English), 1260 AM Nossa Radio (Portuguese)
English Talent: Brad Feldman (play-by-play), Charlie Davies (analyst)


New England Revolution
15th in Eastern Conference (1-4-1, 4 pts.)
Last Result (MLS) | 1-0 win vs. Charlotte FC
Last Result (CCC) | 5-2 loss at Club América

Head coach Caleb Porter set out a simple plan for his Revolution side last weekend against Charlotte FC: “Defend well, get a clean sheet, and find the first goal.” The Revs did all three, Carles Gil’s third goal of the season and Henrich Ravas’ first MLS clean sheet enough to see out a 1-0 win for the hosts, their first of the league campaign. Coupled with a 1-1 draw against Chicago Fire FC in their previous league match, the Revs have begun to find their form in MLS.

All focus can now shift to the regular season following Tuesday night’s exit from the Concacaf Champions Cup, a 5-2 loss to Club América at Estadio Azteca ending the Revolution’s run at the quarterfinal stage. If there was a silver lining to take home from Mexico City, it was the performances of Giacomo Vrioni (two goals) and Esmir Bajraktarević (two assists), both of whom were key performers throughout the Champions Cup run.

New York City FC
13th in Eastern Conference (1-4-2, 5 pts.)
Last Result | 1-1 draw vs. Atlanta United FC

MLS Cup winners in 2021 and Eastern Conference finalists in 2022, NYCFC experienced a rare dip last year, finishing 11th in the East and missing the playoffs entirely for the first time since their expansion season in 2015. While they remained steadfast defensively, conceding the fifth-fewest goals leaguewide (39), they struggled mightily at the attacking end of the field, scoring just 35 goals in 34 games, third-fewest in MLS.

NYCFC got off to a similarly rough start in 2024, losing their first three games while scoring just a single goal. They’ve recovered somewhat in recent weeks, however, going 1-1-2 in their last four while allowing a single goal in each of those four games.


Revolution midfielder Nacho Gil
Much of the focus will always fall on his older brother Carles, but Nacho Gil has been an important part of the Revolution’s midfield in recent weeks. The younger Gil largely created the game winner last weekend against Charlotte, forcing a turnover in the defensive end of the field to kickstart a counterattack, then bursting into the box to fire off the initial shot that led to Carles scoring on the rebound. It was the reverse of New England’s goal in the previous match against Chicago, when it was Nacho who finished off the rebound of a Carles shot.

Especially within the tighter confines of Yankee Stadium, the Revs will rely upon energy, aggression, and creativity on Saturday night, and Nacho provides all three. The 28-year-old midfielder has appeared in all six of New England’s league games to this stage, starting the last two, and he could be in line for more key minutes this weekend in the Bronx.

NYCFC midfielder Santiago Rodríguez
Goalscoring remains something of an issue for New York City, with just five goals scored through their first seven games for a goals per game average of 0.71, lowest in MLS. But when they have managed to find the back of the net, Santiago Rodríguez has often been involved, scoring three of NYCFC’s five goals thus far.

Rodríguez was with NYCFC for their MLS Cup success in 2021, but the crafty Uruguayan attacker has really taken on a significant role the past two seasons. The 24-year-old featured in 63 of NYCFC’s 68 games the past two years, registering nine goals and 21 assists combined in the regular season.


Revolution head coach Caleb Porter on preparations for Saturday’s match vs. NYCFC:
“Our focus is 100 percent on the league, which is a nice feeling. We don't have to compartmentalize multiple competitions, so all our energy, 100 percent, is now on the league. And we can't forget our last two league games, we drew and we won. So, I took the team back to our last game today versus Charlotte and showed them some film from that game of all the positives of that win, especially our defending and how disciplined we were. We also talked about some things in the attack as well and how we can continue to improve and create more chances. But I think that is a very good game to build on, and we can't forget that we won the last game in the league.”

Porter on how the smaller pitch dimensions at Yankee Stadium affect the gameplay:
“You just have to be smart. Everything happens a little quicker because it's a shorter field, so like the transitions both ways happened quicker and you get to goal quicker. So, we have got to be mindful of that on both sides of the ball. It's very narrow, so there's not a ton of width in the game. So how do you create some width? You have to do it in different ways than normal. Set pieces become more of a factor as well. Even things like long throw-ins and our service in the box, you have got to make those adjustments. Typically, when I've played New York City FC, we have actually lined the pitch a little bit. Like tomorrow, when we shape up, we will actually try to lay down discs in the same dimension of their pitch, because it's just a lot more narrow and shorter than any pitch in the league.”

Porter on seven consecutive Saturday matches and managing the upcoming schedule:
“It’s tough to go back and forth as much as we really tried to manage it and juggle it, it was difficult. It meant that the league got sacrificed a little bit. It wasn't by design, we wanted to win both, but mentally there was more urgency with the Champions Cup because they are knockout games. I think you saw the first win that we had versus Charlotte, that was the first game where we had 100 percent focus on the league. And you saw in the Tuesday game, we really didn't prioritize that game other than continuing to look at our depth. Who can be a guy in the two spot that's that pushes the ones? Are we where we need to be in terms of that depth? Who are the guys we can count on long term? So, that was important to see and then we got some good questions answered. I think we got some not-so-good questions answered, where guys need to continue to improve. But I'm really excited to just have a real process, going back to your question on coaching. I've learned a process over the years and I haven't really been able to follow that process. I get a full week, and then a game, and then reflect, correct, and train again. Even today, I was able to train the group that's going to start [Saturday] for the most part full out today and work on some different things that I haven't been able to work on. So, I'm really looking forward to that and I'm looking forward to having continuity. I don't see our lineup from here on out changing a ton. Maybe at one or two positions there's going to be some competition still, but for the most part we're going to set our group and we're going to keep rolling with it and improving it. For sure, we're going to continue to look at additions and subtractions as we go along. It's not out of the realm of possibility that we're going to add some players here before the window closes.”

Revolution defender Henry Kessler on his optimism for the rest of the season:
“I am optimistic for the rest of the season. I think having one game a week will help us. We put a lot into the Champions League, and it didn't pan out for us, being eliminated on Tuesday, but we were happy to advance that far and wish we could have gone further. But we didn't want to just throw that tournament away, so there was a lot of focus on that. Now, it's 100% on the league, so I think that will help us and I'm really excited to be playing in New York City. I love going home, great city where I was born and raised, so I'm looking forward to it.”

Kessler on the approach as they prepare to go from Azteca to Yankee Stadium:
“Yeah, it [Yankee Stadium] is a tighter field, especially coming from Azteca, which is probably one of the bigger pitches we play on and bigger stadiums. Playing in a baseball stadium, it's always different. It's compact, so I think there are quicker transitions which we need to be aware of, and maybe that's something we can also take advantage of.”

Kessler on the group’s mentality during a longer stretch of road games:
“I think similar to our last two home games, it might have to be a grind, and be prepared to win ugly. I think that second half against Charlotte wasn't really pretty, but we won, 1-0, so we're happy with the result. And that might be what it takes on the road with our next four out of five on the road, so I think that's the message, get a result by any means necessary, but we'll try to implement our style and go from there, but if the game presents something else, then be prepared for that too.”