New England Revolution II (3-0-2; 12 pts.) will host Columbus Crew 2 (4-1-0, 12 pts.) on Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium for their first meeting this season. The MLS NEXT Pro match kicks off at 5:00 p.m. ET and will stream on MLSNEXTPro.com.
Revolution II is coming off a 1-0 win vs. Inter Miami CF II last weekend where they posted a second straight clean sheet in goalkeeper Jacob Jackson’s fifth start of the season. The own goal by Miami’s Noah Allen secured the victory for Revolution II as they extended their point streak to five games. New England is the only team in MLS NEXT Pro without a loss entering Week 6 of the campaign.
“I think first it starts with how we pressed the ball up higher in the field and turning teams over higher up the field in their half and not allowing them to get into a rhythm,” Head Coach Clint Peay said of how his team has earned two consecutive clean sheets. “Second, I think just in terms of defending in the box, whether it be off crosses or combination play, through balls, set pieces. I think the guys have been excellent over the course of the last two games. And then I think the third piece which is maybe just as important is we've been better with the ball, better moving in, so not allowing the other team to have the ball and being able to dictate the tempo that way. So, if you have the ball there's a good chance that they can’t score. We've been better with the ball and all those other things defensively have added up to us having the ability to keep a clean sheet.”
New England newcomer Marcos Dias made his Revolution II debut last Sunday, entering the game in the 62nd minute for Ryan Lima. The Brazilian forward, on loan from Vasco de Gama, recorded a team-high four shots with one on target in his 28 minutes played. Revolution II outshot Inter Miami CF II 27-8, logging seven shots on target.
Through five games played, New England currently sits tied atop MLS NEXT Pro’s Eastern Conference with 12 points and 2.40 points per game, level with Columbus Crew 2. Columbus’ only loss this season came on the road, as they will look to disrupt New England’s perfect 3-0-0 start to the home schedule.
“It’s early, so I don't think we give too much credit to kind of whether we win or lose at this point,” Peay stated. “I think we just want to make sure that we're continuing to try to do the things that we discussed and talk about as a group and for individuals to kind of continue to emerge as young players. As it relates to Columbus, they've shown that they've been pretty steady and solid in the back. They've shown the play of back five and that's always difficult to break down, so they've got good width on the field. They've got guys kind of in good spots based on how they play, they really do a good job of moving the ball. So, as we approach the game, it will be important for us to kind of continue to be collective in how we defend and continue to move the ball in a way that allows us to create opportunities.”
WHAT TO WATCH FOR AGAINST COLUMBUS CREW 2:
· Revolution II extending their point streak to six games to begin the season with a win or draw.
· Defender Sean O’Hearn making his 30th professional appearance with Revolution II.
· Midfielder Ryan Lima adding to his 12-shot total on the season. The Brazil native is tied for the team high with Homegrown midfielder Damian Rivera.
· Defender Pierre Cayet making an 87-minute appearance to reach 2,000 minutes played with Revolution II.
· New England adding to the 38 players – and 21 Revolution Academy products – who have made their professional debuts with Revolution II thus far.