Preview | Revs carry 1-0 aggregate lead into Thursday night showdown with CA Independiente


Concacaf Champions Cup | Round One | Leg 2
New England Revolution (1) vs. Club Atlético Independiente (0)
Thursday, February 29 | 8:15 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Mass.

Watch: FS2 (English), TUDN (Spanish)
Listen: 1260 AM Nossa Radio (Portuguese)


New England Revolution
15th in MLS Eastern Conference (0-1-0, 0 pts.)
Last Result | 3-1 loss at D.C. United (MLS)
First Leg | 1-0 win at CA Independiente

Tomás Chancalay gave the Revolution a precious road goal and a 1-0 aggregate lead with his 54th-minute strike last Wednesday night in Panama, expertly finishing from the top of the box after Giacomo Vrioni’s flicked header. Henrich Ravas and the New England backline did the job defensively, limiting CAI to just two shots on target and putting the Revs in strong position to advance to the Round of 16 for a meeting with Costa Rican powerhouse LD Alajuelense.

Following their midweek trip to Panama, the Revs headed directly to The District for Saturday night’s MLS regular season opener against D.C. United. Forced to play down a man for more than 60 minutes following Vrioni’s early dismissal, the Revs suffered a 3-1 loss despite an otherworldly goal from Carles Gil.

Club Atlético Independiente
2nd in Liga Panameña de Fútbol Group B (2-1-2, 8 pts.)
Last Result | 1-0 loss vs. New England Revolution (CCC)
First Leg | 1-0 loss vs. New England Revolution

CA Independiente, three-time defending champions of the Liga Panameña de Fútbol, qualified for Concacaf Champions Cup by reaching the semifinals of the 2023 Central American Cup. This marks the club’s second appearance in Champions Cup, having reached the quarterfinals in 2019 on a run that included a 5-1 aggregate win over Toronto FC and a 2-1 home victory over Sporting Kansas City before an eventual loss on aggregate.

Currently five games into the Liga Panameña de Fútbol campaign, CAI sit second in Group B with a record of two wins, two draws and just one loss, outscoring opponents 8-5 along the way. They had a bye on the league schedule this past weekend, allowing them to prepare for their lengthy journey to Foxborough.


Revolution defender Dave Romney
Carrying a 1-0 aggregate advantage into the second leg, the Revs know that a shutout on Thursday night will guarantee passage to the Round of 16. There’s no question they will go searching for more goals to put the series beyond doubt – particularly at home – but a solid defensive performance will set the foundation.

Center back Dave Romney, who played every minute of regular season and playoff action last season and who has anchored the Revs’ backline for the first 180 minutes of this campaign, could play a key role in that objective. The veteran MLS defender was solid throughout the first leg showdown in limiting CAI to only a handful of half chances throughout the 90 minutes.

CA Independiente forward Víctor Ávila
With 13 goals in just 18 games during the 2023 Clausura season, Víctor Ávila claimed honors as the top goal scorer and was named Most Valuable Player of the competition while helping CAI to a third straight title. The 25-year-old Panamanian previously played for San Francisco FC and Veraguas Club Deportivo (both in Panama) prior to joining CAI ahead of the 2022 campaign.

Ávila is off to yet another hot start in 2024, having already registered three goals through the first five games of the season to sit just one goal off top spot in the league scoring charts. Trailing 1-0 on aggregate, CAI need at least one goal on Thursday night to give themselves a chance to advance, and Ávila is the most likely candidate to find the back of the net.


Revolution head coach Caleb Porter on returning home for Thursday night’s match:
“It’s massive. Just to be in market, in your own home, sleep in your own bed, be around your family, that work-life balance is important. We were on the road for four-and-a-half weeks straight and I could see a buzz and an energy with the guys this week, kind of, back at home and just knowing we have home games as well. We want to get off to a good start in all of our home games, starting with this Concacaf Champions Cup and hopefully our ability to advance to the Round of 16. It’s our first time in front of the supporters and we want to make a good impression.”

Porter on managing a 1-0 aggregate lead and how it affects the team’s approach:
“Well, it’s better than being even or behind, and we’re at home. But we can’t assume that it’s now going to be cruise control to advance – that’s the worst mindset you can have. We know they [CA Independiente] are going to be aggressive. They’re going to come in here and they’re going to go for it. In some ways, maybe they say, ‘There’s nothing to lose so let’s go for it’ and the worst thing we can do is be tentative and try to protect the lead that we have. We need to play to win – that’s the key. We understand that any win gets us through. Yes, we know a draw gets us through as well but we’re not going to take the field with a mindset of drawing this game. We’re going to take the field with a mindset of winning this game and we want to advance in a real positive way and in a proactive way. We want to get a win in front of our supporters.”

Revolution midfielder Matt Polster on playing at home for the first time in 2024:
“It was a long preseason. It's always comfortable and the comfortability of being home is something that you enjoy. I think we put a lot of effort into the preseason, and we got a lot of things out of it, and I thought we did well in the first game of the year. And then, obviously, with all the travel and whatnot, going to D.C. was difficult, but to be here now and have a game tomorrow, to see our fans, and play at our home stadium, it's really exciting.”

Polster on participating in tournaments like Concacaf Champions Cup:
“I really enjoy them. It breaks up the season a little bit and it's something else to fight for. Obviously, when you're in the position we are as players, you want to win something and it gives us another opportunity to win a trophy, and we want to progress in this tournament, and we want to win it.”