MLS Regular Season | Match #14
New England Revolution at Atlanta United FC
Saturday, July 17 | 5 p.m. ET
Mercedes-Benz Stadium | Atlanta, Georgia
Watch: ESPN (English), ESPN Deportes (Spanish)
Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub (English), WBIX 1260 Nossa Radio (Portuguese)
New England Revolution
1st in Eastern Conference (7-3-3, 24 pts.)
Last Result | 3-2 loss vs. Toronto FC
Despite a valiant second-half comeback attempt the Revs saw their perfect home record ruined last time out, suffering a 3-2 loss to Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium. The visitors raced out to a 3-0 lead inside the opening 25 minutes, and although goals from Carles Gil and Adam Buksa made for a frantic finish, New England couldn’t complete the dramatic comeback.
The Revs still occupy first place in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the overall MLS standings, but with just one point from their last three games (0-2-1), they’re also eager to get back to winning ways on Saturday evening at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Although they remain in search of a first-ever result in Atlanta, they have taken at least one point from five of their seven road games this season.
Atlanta United FC
10th in Eastern Conference (2-3-7, 13 pts.)
Last Result | 2-2 draw at Nashville SC
The Five Stripes are winless in seven (0-2-5) and haven’t tasted victory since mid-May, but five of those seven results have been draws and their three losses this season are tied for third-fewest in MLS. Atlanta most recently battled back for a 2-2 draw at Nashville SC, holding on for a point despite a late red card to Jake Mulraney (which has since been rescinded).
Mercedes-Benz Stadium has always been a difficult road venue and this year has been no different, with Atlanta unbeaten in five home games (2-0-3). A significant crowd is expected for Saturday’s game, as the Five Stripes have welcomed fans back in excess of 40,000 in recent months.
Revolution midfielder Carles Gil
Carles Gil was at the center of the Revolution’s 2-1 win over Atlanta in early May, assisting Brandon Bye’s opening goal before burying the game winner himself from the penalty spot. It was New England’s first-ever win over Atlanta in eight meetings in all competitions.
Gil has also played a critical role for the Revolution on the road this season, proving key in possession and helping lead the break. The 28-year-old Spaniard has a league-leading 10 assists on the season, four of which have come in the Revolution’s seven road games.
Atlanta defender Brooks Lennon
No one can challenge Carles Gil’s 61 key passes this season, but the player who occupies a distant second is, in fact, Atlanta right back Brooks Lennon. Although the 23-year-old has just one assist on the year, his 34 key passes have made him a vital piece of the Atlanta attack.
Lennon has started all 12 of Atlanta’s games this season – playing all but 45 minutes – and he could be leaned upon Saturday with fellow defenders Miles Robinson and George Bello both on international duty.
Tajon Buchanan and Matt Turner have led Canada and the United States, respectively, to the Quarterfinals of the Concacaf Gold Cup, meaning their absences from the Revolution will be prolonged until at least late July. Veteran goalkeeper Brad Knighton stood in for Turner against Toronto, while Teal Bunbury took up Buchanan’s typical spot on the wing.
Luis Caicedo remains the only player listed on the Revolution’s availability report because of injury, as fellow Colombian Christian Mafla recently returned to full training.
The hosts will be missing a quartet of players to international duty on Saturday with the trio of Brad Guzan, George Bello, and Miles Robinson at the Concacaf Gold Cup with the USMNT, and Ezequiel Barco preparing for the Olympics with Argentina.
Several others are dealing with injuries – including Emerson Hyndman, Franco Ibarra, Mo Adams, Matheus Rossetto, Jurgen Damm, Alex De John, and Alan Franco – while Josef Martinez has been training on his own since returning from international duty with Venezuela.
Jake Mulraney, who was sent off in Atlanta’s 2-2 draw with Nashville SC, had his red card rescinded by The Independent Review Panel and will be available for selection on Saturday, but midfielder Santiago Sosa will be suspended for yellow card accumulation.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena
“Keep working, get better, and be ready for the next game. It’s certainly not a situation we’re panicking about. We’re not the worst team in the league at the moment. I think we’ll be fine.”
New England Revolution forward Adam Buksa
“It’s a very challenging time. Most leagues in the world usually rest during the summertime. For us, these are two months we have probably the most games out of the whole calendar, so it’ll be a very, very demanding period of time. We have a 25-player roster. Everyone is ready to play, so I’m pretty sure there will be rotations on the team. For now, basically everyone is healthy, ready to go. So, I don’t think we’ll have any struggles with that.”