MLS Regular Season | Match #28
New England Revolution at Colorado Rapids
Saturday, September 16 | 9:30 p.m. ET
Dick's Sporting Goods Park | Commerce City, Colorado
Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
English Talent: Kevin Egan (Play-by-Play), Kyndra de St. Aubin (Analyst)
Spanish Talent: Francisco X. Rivera (Play-by-Play), Martin Zuniga (Analyst)
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub (English); 1260 AM Nossa Radio (Portuguese)
Radio Talent: Brad Feldman (Play-by-Play), Charlie Davies (Analyst)
New England Revolution
2nd in Eastern Conference (13-5-9, 48 pts.)
Last Result | 1-1 draw at Minnesota United FC
The New England Revolution head to Colorado on Saturday night (in match two of a three-game road stretch) with the chance to clinch a place in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. With seven MLS regular season games left, the Revolution sit in second place in the Eastern Conference – third in the Supporters’ Shield standings – and will secure their spot with a win if other results align. Facing off against Western Conference opposition for the third successive fixture, New England are also seeking a return to winning ways after playing out consecutive draws against Austin FC and Minnesota United FC. Top scorer Carles Gil’s eighth MLS goal of the season put the visitors ahead in Saturday’s clash at Allianz Field, but an injury-time Franco Fragapane strike saw the points shared. The Revs remain the only team unbeaten at home this term (10-0-4) but were last victorious on the road in May’s visit to Toronto FC. Interim head coach Clint Peay will lead the team following Bruce Arena’s resignation with sights set on finishing the season with a flourish.
New England Revolution will secure an Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs berth with:
1. New England Revolution WIN at Colorado Rapids AND D.C. United DRAW at Charlotte FC OR
2. New England Revolution WIN at Colorado Rapids AND D.C. United LOSS at Charlotte FC AND Chicago Fire FC LOSS at CF Montréal
14th in Western Conference (3-13-10, 19 pts.)
Last Result | 2-0 loss at Real Salt Lake
The Colorado Rapids have endured a difficult campaign, sitting bottom of the MLS table with just three wins secured all season. From their 26 games, the league originals have collected just 19 points with the fewest goals scored leaguewide (16), drawing blanks in their last five league games. Earlier this month, the club parted company with head coach Robin Fraser, installing assistant coach Chris Little at the helm as interim head coach. Little will take charge of his first game this weekend. The Rapids head into the clash on the back of a tough set of results – winless in seven and having lost their last five in all competitions, shipping 15 goals in the process. While the Denver outfit have proven difficult to beat at home in recent months (conceding just one goal in their last five league matches at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park) and are unbeaten on home soil since a 1-0 defeat to Supporters’ Shield leaders FC Cincinnati in May, four of those five fixtures have resulted in goalless draws.
This weekend’s match-up marks another meeting of MLS originals with the series stretching back to 1996. Though there have been 47 clashes in total, encounters between the Revs and Rapids have become less frequent over the years as the league has expanded, with just one fixture played in the past four years – a 1-0 win for New England in October 2021 in the club’s Supporters’ Shield-winning campaign. The Revolution have notched 18 victories in total – including seven of the last nine, and the last three in a row – and have triumphed in two of the last three trips to Colorado, earning a 2-1 success on the last visit to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Overall Record vs. Colorado: 18-20-9
Away Record vs. Colorado: 5-14-4
Last meeting at Gillette Stadium: Revs 1, Rapids 0 (October 27, 2021)
Last meeting at Dick's Sporting Goods Park: Revs 2, Rapids 1 (July 4, 2019)
Revolution captain Carles Gil
In the midst and aftermath of a testing period, the leaders within a squad face the responsibility of pulling everyone together to realign focus. Captain Carles Gil is the ideal person for the job and has urged his teammates to overcome their recent challenges and ‘show what kind of team and personality they have’ by fighting for points. An equally critical component on the field, the attacking midfielder tops the club’s charts for goals (8) and assists (12), standing in third place leaguewide for set-ups, as well as second in key passes (69). The MLS All-Star eclipsed 20 goal contributions for the third consecutive season with his opening effort in the 1-1 draw with Minnesota United FC last time out, expertly converting a cross from younger brother Nacho. As the Revs look to rekindle the fine form that propelled them to second in the East, the skipper will hope Saturday’s strike will relight the golden touch that saw him craft 10 goal involvements in 11 games between May and July. Hungry to bounce back after a pair of frustrating results, the playmaker will once again look to lead by example both on and off the pitch.
Rapids midfielder Connor Ronan
A January signing from Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers, the 25-year-old Republic of Ireland youth international has enjoyed an impressive individual debut campaign for Colorado. Leading the Rapids’ stats charts for minutes, assists, passes, key passes and crosses, and ranking third in goal-scoring attempts, he has played a key role at the sharp end of the pitch but has also contributed defensively, earning second place in tackles and third for duels. His team-best seven assists are an especially notable return, given the Denver side have only scored 16 goals all season. A technical, intelligent and versatile box-to-box midfielder with experience across Europe, Ronan has been hailed ‘a bright light’ in his side’s challenging campaign, and will be a crucial figure in helping to hold down the midfield in a bid to thwart the Revs’ creative spark, while seeking out opportunities to initiate a Colorado attack, as the hosts hope to kickstart their own campaign under interim head coach Chris Little.
New England Revolution
DeJuan Jones (USMNT), Noel Buck (England U-19) and Christian Makoun (Venezuela) could feature after returning from international duty, but the game will come too soon for new goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík. Elsewhere, Matt Polster is suspended due to yellow card accumulation, Gustavo Bou is listed as questionable with a leg injury, and Brandon Bye (ACL), Dylan Borrero (ACL), Henry Kessler (hamstring) and Maciel (Achilles) remain unavailable for selection. Interim head coach Clint Peay noted Bou and Kessler are progressing well and set to return to full training in the coming weeks.
Lalas Abubakar will also miss the game as a result of yellow card accumulation, while William Yarbrough has been absent for the last three matches having undergone knee surgery. Alex Gersbach (adductor tendon surgery), Jack Price (Achilles) and Max (team suspension) are also unavailable, though Jonathan Lewis and Keegan Rosenberry are both listed as questionable with lower body injuries. Elsewhere, Diego Rubio returned to action against Real Salt Lake following an upper body injury, and new signing Luis Díaz may join the matchday squad after signing for the Rapids off waivers earlier this month.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Revolution interim head coach Clint Peay on transitioning from Revolution II head coach to the first team, alongside assistant coach Marcelo Santos:
“I’m here for the club, first and foremost. I’ve enjoyed my time with Revs II. It’s a great group to work with and when I was asked to join [the first team], I think it was a way to help the club and do my part to help in this moment. I think coaching in a nutshell is about managing people and presenting a vision. I think that my time at Revs II has prepared me in a positive way to do those things.
“I think it was a mutual decision amongst the technical staff and our leadership [to install Marcelo Santos as first team assistant coach]. It made sense. He’s a guy I’m comfortable with and we’ve worked together. It made sense just to have another guy to help organize training and do the tasks that we need to do to be successful.
“The organization addressed the team collectively. My message simply was that I’m here to help you get better as players. I’m here to help grow the team and continue to mission of moving towards being champions. It’s one game at a time so right now our focus is Colorado and that’s what we’ve been working on the last few days. I think it’s clear from the top down that this is a team that wants to win. I think the expectations are to work towards being champions at the end of the season, and that’s it.”
On the Colorado Rapids:
“Colorado are going through something similar with a new interim coach and they’ve obviously had their struggles this year. I’ve known Chris [Little], their current coach, for a long time and I know him very well. He’ll have them prepared. They’re a team that puts you under pressure and they want the ball. I think they want to perform not only for their fans at home, but for Chris as their new coach. It will be a difficult game for us.
“I think we’re all focused on the game. I think we’re ready to move on. Colorado’s our next game and I think the players are hungry. They have the passion and the desire to go forward and move forward. I think collectively we’re just all focused on Colorado and ready to move on.”
On helping the team with game management after conceding two late goals:
“[There is] obviously disappointment with those results, giving goals up late. It’s a reminder on focus and the concentration needed to see a game out and the decisions in those late stages in the game, the urgency in your actions in those later stages of the game, and I think all the players are aware of that. Now, it’s just about executing in those moments.”
Revolution captain Carles Gil on how complicated the last few weeks have been for the team:
“Evidently, moments like this are really difficult. I think no club or player, or anyone really, will want to go through something like this, but we have to move forward. We're in a good situation in terms of the table and playoff qualification, so we want to focus on that because we have seven important games left.”
On whether the team feels they can work with Clint Peay:
“Yes, of course. He's a coach that, in the second team, he made very good moments. And also, during these, I don't know, five or six weeks, he was with us and we are very happy with him. Obviously, we need to train more together and get to know each other better, but yeah, we are very happy with him and are ready to go to Colorado and win.”
On the unification of the locker room:
“Yeah, maybe [that] is the best thing that happened in the last days. When something like this happened, I think we were obviously together and maybe now, more. Maybe it's a challenge for us, no? Like after all these strange things happen, okay, now we need to continue to have a challenge and see what kind of team and personality we have. So, we want to show that first in Colorado. We know that we had two difficult results – to concede a goal in the last second of the game consecutively – so it's hard for us and also it’s a moment to show what kind of team we are.”
On whether the distractions off the field resulted in conceding goals late recently:
“No, I don't think so. It's more on us to try to be ready in the moment. Obviously, we want to close the game maybe earlier, scoring another goal, but in that moment everyone on the field has to be focused, and me as the captain to have everyone ready. So, that was a very disappointing moment, but I hope we learn from that for the future to be ready in that moment.”
Revolution defender Andrew Farrell on the team’s response to a challenging period:
“We just kind of just kept on moving with things and preparing for [the game] – like now, getting ready for Colorado. So that's the mentality that we've had: stick together as a team and move forward.”
On what it’s like working under Clint Peay:
“Yeah, he's really good. I think his sessions are great. He’s been with the second team and I've gone down and watched some of those trainings. When I was getting my [coaching] B License, he was around as well. We really enjoyed his sessions. Today was really good, yesterday was good as well. We trust him. He's been here since Bruce [Arena] was put on leave so we trust what he's been doing, and they’ve been good sessions. We feel prepared for the Rapids – a big game for us to try to get this momentum going the right way.
“We just want to keep moving things forward. Our focus is on Colorado, but even though probably the results haven't been as great as we wanted to be the last couple of games, we’re still where we were in second place, and we have a chance to stay there. Obviously, it's a little tight between second and seventh, but we have a good chance to put ourselves forward and keep moving in the right direction. We’ve got guys coming back healthy, we're getting guys healthier, and we have a really good team. We're excited to see what we can do with the last seven games and then into the playoffs, seeing what we can do there.”
On the morale and togetherness of the team:
“It’s been great, I think it’s been great all year. To be in second place with all the injuries we’ve had, all the other stuff outside of our control, and to still be in second place with some a lot of key guys being out for most of the season, is very impressive. It shows us the togetherness of the group. Key guys coming back soon is going to help us. I’ve been here for 11 years, and this is as close a group as we’ve had in this in this club. We’re just trying to always stick together. It’s easy when we get to finally have a game – not talking about outside and just doing that work on the field. We’re really excited for this trip and ready to get out there and get three points.”
On the team’s motivation to finish the season strongly, and the best way for players to deal with uncertainty:
“Yeah, I think the motivation’s never gone away. As professional athletes, the one thing that we know we go off is wins and winning. We've done a good amount of winning but winning trophies is a big thing – something that we talked about and something that we're excited to be able to be in a position to compete for. We put ourselves in that position, so the momentum is going the right way. The group is together, and we trust each other. We're excited for the players we have, the togetherness that we have, and the opportunity that we have this weekend to take care of business.
“You've got to win – play and win, and show up and compete. The sessions have been great this week with Clint and Marcelo coming up from the second team to help us out. The group is together, the team is one of the closest groups I've been a part of. For the last couple of six, seven weeks, it’s been a lot of unknowns and we've kind of kept moving along. We did pretty well in Leagues Cup – obviously not as well as we wanted to – and then last couple results, we've dropped some points, but the points have been there for us to be had. Hopefully, we can get all maximum points on Saturday in Colorado.”
Revolution midfielder Matt Polster on his experience of working with Clint Peay:
“I came here during COVID-19, so I had the opportunity to train with him for roughly a month when the boys were in the bubble, so I have a little experience with him previously. I've enjoyed all his training sessions, he has respect amongst the second team and he has respect amongst the first team. Whoever's in charge, we're going to work hard for.”
On the team’s resilience and ability to overcome challenges this season:
“Yeah, we’ve shown we can deal with any situation. Obviously, this is unique but for us as players, our main focus is always to win on the weekend. That's what we've always been focused to do. This season situation is unique – it's not something we want – but I think management and the front office and the ownership group have dealt with it swiftly and now our focus is on Colorado.”
On the strength of leadership within the group and how the team moves forward, translating their togetherness onto the pitch:
“Translating it onto the pitch is to win. A lot of this noise can be kind of taken apart by winning games. We have a very veteran group of players, a group that knows how to control situations, and I think we've dealt with that really well for five weeks. Now that we finally have moved past it, and we can now go with what we have, which is the staff we have and the players we have, it's clear and simple that we're just going to go to Colorado and win.”