Preview | Revs aim for immediate response Wednesday night against Atlanta United


MLS Regular Season | Match #19
New England Revolution vs. Atlanta United FC
Wednesday, July 3 | 7:45 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Mass.

Watch: FS1 (National TV), FREE on Apple TV
FS1 Talent: Luis Omar Tapia (play-by-play), Tony Meola (analyst)
Apple TV English Talent: Tony Husband (play-by-play), Ross Smith (analyst)
Apple TV Spanish Talent: Bruno Vain (play-by-play), Andres Agulla (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
14th in Eastern Conference (6-11-1, 19 pts.)

Last Result | 5-1 loss vs. Columbus Crew

A strong month of June came to a frustrating end for the New England Revolution, who fell 5-1 at home to the reigning MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew on Saturday. Still, the four-game winning streak that the Revs put together prior to that defeat provided a much-needed spark of life in what had been a difficult season to that point, and head coach Caleb Porter said during the week that he wasn’t going to let the team lose sight of the progress they had made over that stretch.

The Revolution now enter the month of July sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference, only five points shy of the playoff line with two games in hand over most of the rest of the division. Importantly, Atlanta currently sit in that key final playoff spot, and a win over the Five Stripes to kick off the month would go a long way in helping to bolster New England’s playoff aspirations.

Atlanta United FC
9th in Eastern Conference (6-8-6, 24 pts.)

Last Result | 2-1 win vs. Toronto FC

It shouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Atlanta’s win over Toronto FC this past weekend might just go down in MLS history. In the dying seconds of the game, unbeknownst to Toronto goalkeeper Luka Gavran, Atlanta forward Jamal Thiaré stayed behind in the enemy penalty box after an attack fizzled out, lurking until Gavran set the ball down, at which point he rushed in to steal possession and maintained his composure just long enough to thump the game winner into the back of an empty net, sending the crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium into raptures.

That win kept the Five Stripes firmly in the playoff running, with Atlanta sitting in 9th with 24 points going into this midweek clash. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing in Fulton County this season, though, and the last month has seen the departures of head coach Gonzalo Pineda and DP forward Giorgos Giakoumakis, with Thiago Almada strongly rumored to be close behind. Interim head coach Rob Valentino has managed to keep the team undefeated since taking over (2-0-2), but Wednesday’s match will be a test of Atlanta’s will in the midst of a tumultuous campaign.


Revolution midfielder Matt Polster
It was just under a year ago when the Revolution last faced off against Atlanta United at home, and things got off to a quick start when midfielder Matt Polster opened the scoring in the 4th minute of the eventual 2-1 win. Now, he may not be best known for his goalscoring, but Polster has helped to provide consistency to a New England lineup that has struggled with injury in recent weeks.

Crucially, the MLS veteran has also been a key source of leadership this season, assuming the role of captain in the absence of midfielder Carles Gil on Saturday and generally anchoring the team both on the field and in the locker room. With the quick turnaround from Saturday’s loss and important pieces still battling with injuries, Polster will need to continue to rise to the occasion when the Five Stripes come to town.

Atlanta defender Brooks Lennon
In an up-and-down season for Atlanta United, the stalwart has been defender Brooks Lennon. The Arizona native is the only player to have started every game for Atlanta this season, and he has tallied a team-high five assists across those 20 appearances.

The former Real Salt Lake man has tended to line up as a right wing-back in recent weeks, and he thrives on sending crosses into the box. New England’s defense will need to remain alert and stand tall to deal with his service on Wednesday night, and the midfield should expect to see a lot of the build-up play come down Atlanta’s right-hand flank.


Revolution head coach Caleb Porter on the importance of Wednesday’s match:
“It would have been nice to beat Columbus, but actually, this is probably, in some ways, the more important game, because you can’t lose to teams that are in around you and give them points. They are in the hunt with us for the playoffs, so it’s really important we bounce back. I reminded the guys that we won four in a row, we’re playing really well and we can’t forget about that. But we do need to use this last game as a little bit of a wake-up call and to continue to remind ourselves that we have to improve, keep improving.”

Porter on defender Brandon Bye’s gradual return to the squad:
“It was good to get [Bye] 30 minutes. It's difficult with defenders to kind of bleed them in, and we were able to get him a good, solid 30. We can hopefully build from there and maybe get a 45 in one of the next two games. You saw on the back post, him crash that header, so those are some of the things he can bring – an aerial presence. He’s athletic, very athletic, so in one-on-one duels, he is going to help us a lot, and in the final third, being able to get crosses in and provide width.”

Porter on the changes Atlanta has implemented under interim head coach Rob Valentino:
“They’ve changed formations, so they’re playing a little bit more of a different structure. Obviously, [Giorgos] Giakoumakis isn’t there anymore. We’ll see where [Thiago] Almada is at, obviously, with his transfer. But they have other good players. They are one of the most talented teams in the league. They spend a lot of money. So, we have to focus on what we think they’re going to do, but also, we have to just respond and bounce back. I know we will. I know our mentality will be good to turn around now and go and throw ourselves into this game at home, and push for those three points. If we do that, we’re right back in the mix.”

Revolution midfielder Matt Polster on the quick turnaround from Saturday to Wednesday:
“Yeah, the best part about the midweek is that you can forget about this pretty quickly. So, everything shifts now to Wednesday. We'll probably dwell on it for 10, 15 minutes on Monday. Then, we're just going to have to re-shift focus. We can be upset for tonight, but you have to move quick.”

Revolution midfielder Noel Buck on the team’s mindset ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with Atlanta:
“It’s a tough result against Columbus, but we still have confidence. We know we’re a good team and it has to be the next game. This next game against Atlanta is vitally important for us to get three points … We are really hungry to make the playoffs. It was not a great start to the year, and we’re really looking to fix that.”