Preview | New England seeks to build on positive performances in Red Bulls rematch


MLS Regular Season | Match #15
New England Revolution vs New York Red Bulls
Saturday, June 8 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Mass.

Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
English Talent: Steve Cangialosi (play-by-play), Taylor Twellman (analyst)
Spanish Talent: Diego Pessolano (play-by-play), Daniel Chapela (analyst)

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


New England Revolution
15th in Eastern Conference (3-10-1, 10 pts.)

Last Result | 2-1 win at Nashville SC

After a run of games in which New England showed promise but were unable to secure points, the Revs finally bagged their third win of the season last weekend against Nashville SC, with goals from midfielder Carles Gil and winger Esmir Bajraktarević as well as a penalty save from Aljaž Ivačič standing out as highlights from the 2-1 victory. The win saw the Revolution move to 3-10-1 on the season, a tally that still leaves them in last place in the Eastern Conference but one that head coach Caleb Porter has said he and the team are determined to rectify.

Bajraktarević’s goal in Nashville was his first in Major League Soccer, but the young winger will be unavailable to follow it up in this weekend’s clash with the New York Red Bulls, as he is participating in the United States Men’s Olympic Team’s final training camp of the summer and hoping to earn a spot in coach Marko Mitrović’s final 18-man roster that will be travelling to Paris next month. That will leave the Revs thin out wide, but Porter stated during the week that he and his staff have been carefully considering how they will manage the situation, saying that the addition of Jack Panayotou on recall from his promising loan to USL Championship side Rhode Island FC should help to provide coverage.

New York Red Bulls
4th in Eastern Conference (8-3-5, 29 pts.)

Last Result | 1-0 win vs Orlando City SC

The New York Red Bulls took three points from their last outing, a home victory against Orlando City SC. RBNY had been on a goal-happy run going into that match, scoring three or more in three of their previous four games, but the win over Orlando only had one goal in it, scored directly from a free-kick by the talented John Tolkin.

Tolkin, along with other key players including Emil Forsberg and Lewis Morgan, will also be missing from the Red Bulls’ squad when they travel to Foxborough due to international duty. Nevertheless, Caleb Porter said during the week that he recognized the drive present up and down New York’s depth chart and would not be viewing this as an easier game by any means, adding that it will come down to each team’s execution as both manage key absences from national team duty and injuries.


Revolution goalkeeper Aljaž Ivačič
Aljaž Ivačič may have only signed for the Revolution six weeks ago, but he has quickly established himself as a New England mainstay and a warrior for the badge. He earned his second win in a Revs jersey last weekend in Nashville on the back of a crucial penalty save at a moment that could have significantly shifted the game’s momentum in favor of the Boys in Gold.

If the Revolution are going to build on Saturday’s win, the Slovenian will need to put in another strong shot-stopping performance this weekend against RBNY, a team that will be missing key players but which nonetheless put four past the Revs less than a month ago at Red Bull Arena. For his own part, Ivačič seems hungry to make up for that previous performance, saying this week that Saturday would be “a time for revenge.”

Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara
With Carlos Coronel away with the Paraguay National Team, Ivačič’s opposite number this weekend is expected to be Ryan Meara, the longstanding deputy goalkeeper for the New York Red Bulls. He may not have had many opportunities to prove himself in recent years, as is often the case for backup keepers, but don’t be deceived; Meara’s sole outing this season saw him record a shutout against no less an opponent than Luis Suárez and Inter Miami CF, a 4-0 home victory for his side back in March.

The Yonkers native has been with the Red Bulls since 2012, apart from a loan spell with New York City FC in 2015, and has maintained a 77% save percentage across his MLS career. Meara will surely be eager not only to put in a strong shift for his team, but also to remind first-year coach Sandro Schwarz of the talent sitting on his bench week after week, and the Revolution should be prepared for a top-class showing from him between the sticks.


Head coach Caleb Porter on the team’s win over Nashville SC last weekend:
“On both sides of the ball, I thought the hunger was there and the fight was there. We wanted to play with passion. I reminded the guys before the game that they started playing this game because they loved it and they had passion for it, and that this is a job but it's more than that. It's their calling and it's what they're meant to do, and you've got to enjoy it. I thought they played with passion today. It took everybody, even the guys that subbed into the game. Jonah [Mensah] coming in late and going to that back five I thought really helped us preserve the win. It was another game where we had a lot of things going against us too. Two penalties, and I think that’s seven penalties against us on the year. At some point, we're going to get a call, but our guys weren't going to be victims today. We were going to refuse to lose, and you could see that. Even just with the blocked shots at the end, I mean, guys just putting their bodies on the line, their faces and their chests and anything they could get on it, just to save the game and to get the result. That’s what it takes in this league to get a win, especially on the road against a team that just beat Cincinnati, last year's Supporters' Shield winners. So, that's a very good team and to come into their place and to get a result, that should give our guys a lot of confidence.”

On the team’s style of play and the dynamic nature of the victory in Nashville:
“Yeah, it’s coming together, obviously. We won the game, but we played well. I’ve been saying it for weeks, we’re starting to execute more and more. This was definitely a game where it came together. You saw in the attack, the purpose that we played with. It wasn’t just always on the ground; there was some verticality to how we played – sometimes going direct, sometimes building attacks on the ground. Same thing on the defensive side – sometimes pressing high, sometimes holding and waiting. The first two goals I think are great examples of how we want to score goals. The first one was an 11-pass sequence, a positional attack where we switched play and then allowed our top players to have creativity in the final third, with a great goal from Carles. The second goal was a transition, which is something that we talk about. We want to be very good in those moments where we win the ball. Can we be ruthless going to goal in a short amount of time? So, that was a great goal as well.”

On players returning from injury and the level of fight from everyone in the team:
“Yeah, [Brandon Bye] is full-out in training. It’s going to be a couple of weeks before he’s able to play in games. Peyton Miller, as well, is back in and full-out. Same thing, we’re hoping to get him some minutes with Revs II, possibly next week, so he can start to build his fitness up. With Brandon, again, he’s been out a long time, so it’ll be three or four weeks, but he’s definitely, in the second half of the year, going to factor in and play a role. But also, Nick Lima is playing really well right now. I thought we got good performances across the board from everybody. I loved the end of the game when I rewatched it. Obviously, I had the picture in my mind live of our guys just putting everything on the line to win the game. Kind of that ‘refuse to lose’ [mentality]. Guys just knocking balls off their chest, their legs, their faces. That’s what it takes to win games in this league. You can see the fight and we’re going to need it every single game from here on out. So, this game [at Nashville] is done. We’re not thinking about the win, it’s over, and it’s on to the next and we have to win this next game.”

On his mindset ahead of the team’s rematch with a New York side that will be missing a number of key players:
“Basically, the way they play, it is all about their identity and their style of play. They don’t miss a beat. They are very well drilled in their first spot and ‘two’ spots in the depth chart, and they don’t miss too much of a beat. In some ways, they actually get better when they go to the ‘two’ guys, because those guys work even harder. Maybe they are not quite as talented, but the identity is still there. So, obviously, we’re juggling a few guys out and they will have a few guys out as well. So, it will be about our execution versus their execution. I don’t think there will be a ton of mysteries in what they are looking to do, their shape, and same with us. It is going to come down to who executes better.”

Midfielder Carles Gil on the team’s mindset after defeating Nashville SC:
“If we want to be in the playoffs, we need to win games like today. Now, start to be a good home team, strong at home with our fans. We have two consecutive [home] games, and we want to continue. Now, in my mind is just the next game, so try to win.”

Midfielder Matt Polster on the group’s takeaways from last Saturday’s win:
“Looking at it, I think we’re really happy with how we performed overall through the 110 minutes. It was just nice to see the full picture come together. I thought we worked really hard all week with a good game plan from the [coaching] staff, and then I thought the players executed on the weekend. It could have been much easier of a performance. I think we can clean up in the final third a little bit, but look, I’m not going to complain about three points. We’re happy about it and now we just have to focus on Red Bulls.”

Goalkeeper Aljaž Ivačič on his mindset in the moments before saving Hany Mukhtar’s first penalty:
“Always, I’m trying to hold my ground as long as possible. They have to make a decision at the end, so I’m trying to put them under pressure. But also, I have to mention that Carles came to me before the PK and he said, ‘Go right.’ So, I said ‘Okay, Carles. I trust you.’ So, I went right. (Laughing,) Carles saved the PK, not me!”

Winger Dylan Borrero (translated from Spanish) on his partnership with returning outside back DeJuan Jones:
“I like playing with him a lot because we understand one another well, so we can help the team a lot if we communicate with one another and we play with one another well.”