MLS is Back Tournament
New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact
Thursday, July 9 | 8 p.m. ET
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex | Kissimmee, Fla.
Watch: Twitter (English), Univision (Spanish)
Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub (English), SiriusXM FC Channel 157 (English)
Revolution Live presented by Dan O’Brien Automotive Group (3 p.m., July 9)
- Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, revolutionsoccer.net
Outside the Booth presented by Dan O’Brien Automotive Group (12 p.m., July 10)
- Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, revolutionsoccer.net
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
New England Revolution
8th in Eastern Conference (0-1-1, 1 pt.)
Last Result | 1-1 draw vs. Chicago Fire FC
It’s been more than four months since the Revs opened the season with a road loss to the Impact and a home draw against Chicago, but they still feel they should’ve taken more from those games, particularly considering the pair of gilt-edged chances that went by the wayside in the late stages. That setback in Montreal provides New England something of an extra incentive as they aim to get started on the right foot in their return to action.
2nd in Eastern Conference (1-0-1, 4 pts.)
Last Result | 2-2 draw at FC Dallas
Thierry Henry got his MLS coaching career off to a solid start back at the start of 2020, guiding the Impact into the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League and leading them to a win over New England and a draw at Dallas in league play. That momentum built in the season’s early stages will be all but lost following the extended hiatus, but the Impact will still be hoping to pick up where they left off in mid-March.
Carles Gil was New England’s ironman in 2019, starting all 34 games and playing all but eight minutes en route to MLS Newcomer of the Year honors and a spot on the MLS Best XI. It was an adjustment, then, when Gil missed the majority of the 2020 preseason and the first two games on the schedule with a foot injury.
But now Gil is fully recovered and back in the mix, using the past month of training to get himself into top shape while forming an on-field relationship with the Revolution’s newest attacking addition, forward Adam Buksa. Gil is not only the talisman in midfield, but also a club leader, wearing the captain’s armband since last May.
Perhaps no one got their 2020 season off to a better start than Maxi Urruti, who currently leads MLS with three goals through just two games. That includes a late winner in the season opener against the Revs and a double in the Impact’s 2-2 draw with his former team, FC Dallas.
Urruti has been something of a Revs killer in recent years, scoring twice in both a regular-season match in 2017 and the U.S. Open Cup Final in 2016, both with FC Dallas.
Luis Caicedo will miss the 2020 season after undergoing surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee, leaving a void in central midfield as the 24-year-old combined to make 61 appearances between 2018 and 2019. The likes of Scott Caldwell, Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, and Wilfried Zahibo will likely fill that role.
Otherwise the Revs are largely healthy, with Gil, Alexander Büttner, Antonio Delamea and Matt Turner all back in the fold after missing portions of the first two games of the season.
While the Revs were without Carles Gil for the season opener, Montreal were without Victor Wanyama, who signed with the Impact just days after New England’s visit. The 29-year-old former Tottenham midfielder made his Impact debut in the Concacaf Champions League, but could well make his league debut on Thursday night.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena
“(The players) have done a good job. They know it’s a bit awkward how everything has led up to this point, obviously with the pandemic being an issue, obviously not only around the country but globally. It’s been challenging on them and their families at the club level, it’s been challenging for all the clubs in the league to prepare the teams to get down to Orlando, and then Orlando in itself is challenging. Going through all of that bit of turmoil and all, our guys have had a fantastic approach to things, so I’m optimistic we can have a good tournament.”
New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner
“Anytime you’re in this type of tournament, getting something out of your first game is crucial. You don’t want to fall behind. If you lose, you’re already behind another team three points. Getting off to a good start positions you well to get into the knockout stage and be able to manage your team’s bodies and manage games, and those type of things. Not to mention all these games are counting towards the league. I’d say we dropped three points already this season. We’re going to have to pick those points back up. Hopefully, we can do well here and carry that on into whatever comes next.”
Montreal Impact head coach Thierry Henry
“I keep on saying to the team – and I’m sure you heard me saying it since you’re there – we’ve got to fight. Regardless of what it is, we’ve got to fight, we’ve got to play hard and make it difficult for other teams … I always said to them since I’ve been here, we’ve got to fight. That’s something very important. We have to fight.”
Montreal Impact midfielder Samuel Piette
“With this tournament, with the maximum of seven games played, we know how crazy this league is where one year – and I was talking about this with Victor (Wanyama) yesterday, actually – one year the team that finished last, the next year can win MLS Cup. It’s kind of a crazy league in that way. In a format of a tournament of seven games, I think it’s very possible that any team can win it.”