Preview | Revs close out hectic stretch by hosting defending Supporters’ Shield champs FC Cincinnati


MLS Regular Season | Match #4
New England Revolution vs. FC Cincinnati
Sunday, March 17 | 2 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Mass.

Watch: FREE on Apple TV
English Talent: Steve Cangialosi (play-by-play), Danny Higginbotham (analyst)
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), Clyde Simms (analyst)



New England Revolution
15th in Eastern Conference (0-3-0, 0 pts.)
Last Result (MLS) | 4-1 loss at Atlanta United FC
Last Result (Concacaf Champions Cup) | 1-1 draw at LD Alajuelense

The Revs enter Sunday’s showdown still in search of their first points of the MLS campaign, having suffered a trio of losses at the start of the schedule. They’ll have a great opportunity to rebound in the coming weeks, however, with three straight games at Gillette Stadium, beginning with this weekend’s visit from FC Cincinnati (March 17) and followed by meetings with Chicago Fire FC (March 23) and Charlotte FC (April 6).

New England’s form in Concacaf Champions Cup will also give them a boost heading into the weekend, as they closed out a 5-1 aggregate win over LD Alajuelense on Thursday night with a 1-1 draw in Costa Rica. Giacomo Vrioni came off the bench to score the Revolution’s lone goal at Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, as they booked a spot in the quarterfinals and a meeting with reigning LIGA MX champions Club América.

FC Cincinnati
7th in Eastern Conference (1-0-2, 5 pts.)
Last Result (MLS) | 0-0 draw vs. D.C. United
Last Result (Concacaf Champions Cup) | 2-1 loss at Monterrey

The reigning Supporters’ Shield champions have gotten their league campaign off to a decent start with one win and two draws from three matches, though oddly enough FC Cincinnati have drawn both home games while winning on their only previous MLS road trip. A resolute defense has carried Pat Noonan’s side through the early stages, as they’ve allowed just a single goal while scoring twice, all in their 2-1 win over Chicago.

Cincinnati was also on the road in Concacaf Champions Cup action on Thursday night, suffering a 2-1 loss at Monterrey to close out a 3-1 aggregate defeat. While the Revs will be playing their eighth game in 26 days to begin the season on Sunday, FCC will similarly be playing an eighth game in 25 days.


Revolution midfielder Carles Gil
One of the biggest benefits of the Revolution’s 4-0 aggregate lead heading into the second leg at Alajuelense was the opportunity to rest Carles Gil, who didn’t make the trip to Costa Rica. That gave Gil, who recently dealt with tightness in his Achilles, a chance to stay fresh ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Cincinnati.

The Revolution captain will likely be a key figure against an FCC team that has allowed just one goal through three games, and if he can produce a moment of magic similar to his goals against D.C. United and Atlanta United, Gil will provide New England a tremendous boost.

FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta
Few teams boast a player the caliber of Carles Gil, but FC Cincinnati can make that claim with 2023 Landon Donovan MLS MVP winner Luciano Acosta. The 29-year-old playmaker led the league with 31 goal contributions last year (17 goals, 14 assists) to power Cincinnati to the Supporters’ Shield, following up a 2022 campaign that was just as impressive with 10 goals and 19 assists.

Acosta has just one assist through his first three league appearances this year, but he did score a stellar goal in Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to Monterrey. The 5-foot-3 midfielder is capable of producing something from nothing, and he’ll surely be a focal point of the Revolution defense on Sunday.


Revolution head coach Caleb Porter on the quick turnaround to Sunday’s game:
“The good news is we've been used to it. It’s not ideal. It’s not normal, but we’re used to it. We've been doing this for the best of the last three weeks where we have, essentially, one recovery day and one prep day. The big difference with this game is we're playing a team [FC Cincinnati] that has the exact same schedule. In our first three league games, we played teams that had a full week to prep and to be well rested. In Atlanta's case, they had two weeks. So, we know, obviously, Cincinnati had a game like we did on Thursday, they traveled from Mexico directly here. So, they're essentially going to have the same prep and the same rest and recovery that we have.”

Porter on the benefit of resting some players and managing minutes on Thursday:
“We rotated more in that game [Thursday at LD Alajuelense]. Obviously, we were up 4-0 in the aggregate, so we felt we could do that and meant also that we're more rested for this game [against FC Cincinnati], which takes on even more importance because of where we're at in the league. So, we're really pleased with that, but we're still managing a few little things with guys and we'll have to make a couple of decisions here today just with regards to if guys can go or not. But by and large, we're going to have a mostly fresh and rested group playing on Sunday, which isn't something we've had in the other games.”

Porter on the importance of getting results from a stretch of home games in MLS play:
“Our goal going into the week was to get two results. [First], to finish the job in the Champions Cup and go get a result there, which we did. The nice thing is we didn't limp through. We actually, I thought, did it in a strong way. We went there, we took a draw, and the guys left the game with confidence. We showed our mental toughness, and that's good. Cincinnati, they crashed out, and so that's not easy, right? So, for us, we're still in tournament, we have a lot of belief, we have a lot of confidence, and I think we're growing every game. Again, we showed a lot of resiliency in that match [at LD Alajuelense], so we can draw on that and use that. That was important for us to finish that job. But going into the week, we probably prioritized the Sunday [match] under the circumstances of knowing we were up 4-0 [against Alajuelense], and so I think you'll see that with regards to who we put out on Sunday and how we approach the game. It's a massive game for us to get our league season going and I'm confident that our guys are going to really have a good performance. I really am.”

Revolution midfielder Esmir Bajraktarević on the importance of gaining points in MLS:
“Yeah, obviously, it's huge. The league is a big priority and yeah, like I said, we have to put good form in both the league and in tournaments, in every game we play. So right now, obviously, it's a big game at home against a good team, so we have to go into it 100 percent.”

Bajraktarević on adjusting to different formations and tactics:
“It shows that we have versatility. We have a lot of depth in the team in every position and it’s a lot of competition being in the starting lineup, so I think it just, you know, iron sharpens iron, so I think it's just making us better overall. And yeah, it's great to be able to play different formations and to be able to adjust to certain games.”

Bajraktarević on gaining confidence from a run of seven straight appearances:
“I mean, in the end, I just want to help the team. Like I said at the beginning of the season, just get goals, get assists, and help the team in any way that I can. As long as all of us fight for the team to get a win, those results will come naturally.”