Preview | Revs hit the road to close out busy week Saturday night in Seattle


MLS Regular Season | Match #20
New England Revolution at Seattle Sounders FC
Saturday, July 6 | 10:30 p.m. ET
Lumen Field | Seattle, WA

Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
English Talent: Nate Bukaty (play-by-play), Brian McBride (analyst)
Spanish Talent: Francisco X. Rivera (play-by-play), Diego Arrioja (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
11th in Eastern Conference (7-11-1, 22 pts.)

Last Result | 2-1 win vs. Atlanta United FC

After a heavy home loss and a quick turnaround, there was a potentially uncomfortable question lurking under the surface for New England: Was the team that won four straight the ‘real’ Revolution, or was the 5-1 loss to Columbus a return to ‘true’ form? Well, the Revs seem to have answered that question on Wednesday, triumphing over Atlanta United FC 2-1 at home on the back of a Giacomo Vrioni first-half brace and a standout performance from goalkeeper Aljaž Ivačič to make it five wins in six games and rise to 11th in the East.

The Revs now sit two points behind Atlanta in the last Eastern Conference playoff spot, with two games in hand over most of the rest of the division. For a squad that has been depleted by injuries, suspension, and international duty, the Revolution have shown heart and grit to get their season back on track at a time when many other teams might have only seen their fortunes decay completely, and they are showing no signs of stopping now ahead of their first West-Coast trip of the year.

Seattle Sounders FC
9th in Western Conference (7-7-7, 28 pts.)

Last Result | 2-1 win vs. Chicago Fire FC

Seattle may provide the closest Western Conference comparison to the Revolution this season: a bumpy start that has given way to a strong midseason showing and a serious run at postseason soccer. They now sit ninth in the West after a 2-1 win over Chicago Fire FC last weekend, and the Sounders will be looking to keep themselves in contention Saturday night against the Revs.

Importantly, Seattle will come into the weekend rested, as they had a bye for the league’s midweek action. The Sounders also hold a 3-1-0 record against Eastern Conference opposition this season, with last Saturday’s win over Chicago keeping them undefeated at home in cross-conference games (2-0-0).


Revolution striker Giacomo Vrioni
*If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Striker Giacomo Vrioni is finding his form at exactly the right time for the Revs, scoring five goals in the last four games, including two braces in the previous three, to take his tally for the MLS season up to seven and counting. Vrioni’s renaissance has been especially important given the players that the Revs have been missing during that span, including captain Carles Gil, and the Albanian international will need to continue his run of form if the Revs are to continue their midseason turnaround.

Of course, Vrioni’s success in finding the back of the net has been heavily aided by the service he has been receiving from his teammates, and the assists from defender DeJuan Jones and midfielder Noel Buck in Wednesday's game are prime examples of that. However, head coach Caleb Porter did say after the midweek match that he felt there were even more opportunities that he wanted to see Vrioni converting, leaving the door open for even more output from the big man.

Sounders forward Raúl Ruidíaz
*Seattle’s leading goalscorer so far this season is forward Raúl Ruidíaz with eight scores. The Peruvian has a storied history with the club, hoisting MLS Cup in 2019 in just his second year in Seattle, following it up with two straight seasons in the league’s Best XI (2020, 2021), and then scoring twice in the 2022 Concacaf Champions Cup final to help the Sounders lift that trophy for the first time in their history.

An internal suspension meant he was left out of the Sounders’ squad that beat Chicago last weekend, but Ruidíaz is expected to make a return on Saturday against New England. Caleb Porter acknowledged ahead of the match that Seattle’s roster is packed with talent up and down the field, but Ruidíaz will surely be one of the top names that Porter will have his defenders looking out for at Lumen Field.


Revolution head coach Caleb Porter on Wednesday’s win and preparing for Saturday’s match in Seattle:
“A good win, good first half. We survived a little bit in the end of the first half and second half, but we’ll take it. On to the next now. We’ll focus our energy and attention on Seattle. We have to recover quickly. We had a session today with guys who didn’t play major minutes. We recovered the guys who played major minutes. We took a few more injuries last night, so we’re looking at all options to fill our bench. We have to evaluate the health of the players as well. It does take a little bit of some pressure off, winning this game on Wednesday, especially with where Atlanta is at in the table. Playing a nonconference team, we look at it kind of as bonus points. So, can we go there [to Seattle] and get a result? That’s the goal. It won’t be easy. They are in good form, Seattle, and it’s obviously a long trip across the country. We’ll leave tomorrow morning, we’ll train in Seattle, and then come back Sunday. That’s the plan.”

Porter on Giacomo Vrioni’s brace against Atlanta and general improvement in form:
“Yeah, four goals, I think it is, in three games, which I really like, because he had two goals and then last game, he should have scored three or four, but his mentality now to bounce back was very good. We hadn't seen that out of him. He had gone periods where it's three, four or five games where he wasn't scoring. So, for me, to see his mentality in this game, to shrug off last game and missing some chances to now find two goals, I thought was excellent and a big part of us winning the game … Both our goals, I thought, were excellent goals. Good ball by DeJuan [Jones] on the first one with Giacomo in the channel, and then great individual play out of him. Then our second goal is excellent. Front half control, positional attack. We stayed on the ball, circulated it, very patient. That's what I wanted to see more in the second half. That's the way we need to play for longer periods, and then the opponent has no chance. They never get around our goal. That’s all mentality. I thought scoring the first goal and then having that strong mentality, that killer instinct, to get the second goal, to stay on the ball, and then a great kind of in-swinging cross, and a good finish from Giacomo.”

Porter on the upside of having difficult squad decisions and competition for starting spots:
“That's a good problem. I'd much rather have tough decisions to make than be playing guys that I don't want to be playing. I think when you have guys that know they're playing well and you can't make a bad decision, then you always know that when you rotate, that you're going to have a guy that's going to go in and do well. That's what we need, and I think early in the year we weren't getting that. We were having to play guys that really weren't earning it and now, we're getting some depth and confidence, not in our one to 11, but one to 18, where now I can say, 'Okay, in this game I feel like we need a little bit more of this or that,’ because every player has different strengths and weaknesses.”

Porter on the talent in the Seattle Sounders FC squad:
“They have good players and they’re dynamic, usually very athletic, and they have some good young players as well. Jordan Morris is a handful up top, Léo Chú is a really dynamic 1-v-1 player. [Cristian] Roldan has always been a very steady player—both Roldans [Cristian and Alex], but the midfield Roldan. [Albert] Rusnák, I’ve always been a fan of his, even when he was in Salt Lake. He’s a very good player and he’s kind of playing more of his role as a 10. João Paulo, I think, has always been one of the better central midfielders in the league since he’s come into MLS. So, yeah, good team, and at the back they are consistent, a lot of experience. The core of that group has won a lot over the years in this league. Like you said, they have confidence right now. Our guys will be up for it. We’ve won five out of the last six games. We’re going to go in there, obviously, with belief and hopefully with a good plan, but it’s definitely a game where we have to be smart. This isn’t going to be a ‘Let’s go and play a swashbuckling approach,’ where we’re running around everywhere. We have to be organized, we have to be patient, and can we continue to be good defensively as a starting point?”

Revolution striker Giacomo Vrioni on his improvements under coach Porter and the team’s adjustments to his system:
“We have a new coach with a new system, with new ideas. So, everyone had to adapt to this. We needed time. We followed him because, in the end, he’s a winner. He won two MLS Cups. So, we are happy to have him here. He’s giving me consistency, which is the most important thing for a player. I’m happy to have him here because he has a good mentality. We have to pay him [back] on the field.”

Vrioni on the quick turnaround ahead of the team’s trip to Seattle for Saturday’s game:
“It will be difficult, but we have to go in with the same mentality from the first half of today, and the last four games – not [the] Columbus [game]. It will be tough, because [Seattle] didn’t play today, but this is not an excuse because, in the end, big teams play every three days. It’s not an excuse. Getting recovery, eat well, sleeping, training, and we’ll be ready for Saturday.”

Revolution defender Brandon Bye on his return to action over the last three matches:
“The last three games – Cincinnati, Columbus, and this past one with Atlanta – it’s been great. Honestly, it was a long recovery back of ten-and-a-half months or eleven months from injury. Just to be back on the field with the guys battling, playing in order to fight for a common goal and fight for wins, that’s been great. The experience of being back on the field, there’s some things that I’m still building towards and I’m still figuring out. After that long away from the field, it’s difficult to just jump back into things, especially in circumstances like seeing out the game in Cincinnati or something like that. But I love to step on the field and it was nice to hear the fans supporting me on the way back over the last couple of games too, so that’s great.”

Bye on how he feels physically as he progresses on his recovery to full fitness:
“I feel good. I wouldn’t put a percentage on it, but I feel good. Obviously, I wouldn’t put myself out there if I was feeling anything less. I think for me, it’s the building fitness. I’m not 90 minutes fit yet but I think the coaches, the performance staff, and the training staff are doing a good job leading me back in that direction. I have to obviously work to get back to 90 minutes fit, but I feel good.”