MLS Regular Season | Match #4
New England Revolution vs. Nashville SC
Saturday, March 18 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Mass.
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- English Talent: Brad Feldman (play-by-play), Clyde Simms (analyst)
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New England Revolution
6th in Eastern Conference (2-1-0, 6 pts.)
Last Result | 4-0 loss at Los Angeles FC
The Revolution’s unblemished start to the 2023 season hit a speedbump last weekend in Los Angeles, where they suffered a 4-0 loss to LAFC despite goalkeeper Djordje Petrović matching his single-game career high with eight saves. Even with the loss, New England sits just one point off the top of the conference standings as not a single team in the East remains perfect through three games.
Now the Revs begin an important early-season stretch in which they’ll play five of their next seven games at home through the end of April, starting with Saturday night’s visit from Nashville SC, a team the Revs have yet to beat in four previous meetings (0-1-3) in the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.
2nd in Eastern Conference (2-0-1, 7 pts.)
Last Result | 2-0 win vs. CF Montréal
Nashville spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons in the Eastern Conference before switching to the West in 2022, and now they’re back in the East for the current campaign, off to the best start in club history through three games (2-0-1). True to their brief history Nashville have been rock solid defensively in the early part of 2023, entering Matchday 4 as the only MLS team remaining yet to concede a goal.
This will be Nashville’s second road game of the season having played to a 0-0 draw in their trip to Red Bull Arena two weeks ago, and that may sound like a familiar result. Only twice before have Nashville visited Gillette Stadium – once apiece in 2020 and 2021 – and both games ended 0-0.
Revolution forward Gustavo Bou
Gustavo Bou went straight into the starting lineup to make his 2023 debut last weekend at LAFC, although sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena admitted that Bou was forced to play somewhat out of position in more of a playmaking role with Carles Gil unable to start because of a muscle strain. Bou, who registered 23 goals and 11 assists combined the past two seasons, played 63 minutes before departing at BMO Stadium.
Arena said that Bou’s fitness will continue to improve as the weeks progress, and the 33-year-old forward could be a focal point of the Revolution’s attack once again on Saturday night with Carles Gil likely unavailable.
Nashville midfielder Hany Mukhtar
The reigning MLS MVP is always a player who’s going to garner plenty of attention, and Hany Mukhtar will certainly be a key figure on Saturday night. The 27-year-old, German-born midfielder was electric in 2022, scoring 23 goals and adding 11 assists in 33 appearances. In 67 total appearances since the start of the 2021 season, Mukhtar has registered a staggering 39 goals and 25 assists from his midfield position.
It’s been a slower start to the 2023 campaign as Mukhtar has dealt with an injury that kept him out of the preseason meeting between these sides, a match the Revs won, 1-0. Mukhtar, who has two assists on the year, came off the bench to play a total of 60 minutes in Nashville’s first two matches, but started and went 89 minutes in last week’s 2-0 win over CF Montréal.
Carles Gil (left leg) is officially listed as questionable for Saturday night’s game, although Bruce Arena did say during his weekly interview with Zolak & Bertrand that he doesn’t expect Gil to play against Nashville. Gil, who came off the bench last Sunday night against LAFC before being subbed off in stoppage time, is expected to be ready by next weekend’s trip to visit D.C. United, according to Arena.
Jacob Jackson (left ACL) and Maciel (left Achilles) both continue to recover from surgery, while Arena said he expects Tommy McNamara (left leg) to return “maybe in a couple weeks or so.” Nacho Gil (right leg), meanwhile, is “about a month or two away.”
Andrew Farrell, who missed a significant chunk of preseason and the first three games of the campaign with a nagging hamstring injury, has returned to full training and is “getting up to speed,” according to Arena.
The visitors will be without Randall Leal (lower body injury) and Nick DePuy (lower body injury) on Saturday night, while four players are listed as questionable: Luke Haakenson (lower body injury), Alex Muyl (upper body injury), Anibal Godoy (upper body injury), and Walker Zimmerman (illness). Nashville head coach Gary Smith told media on Thursday afternoon that Godoy’s availability will be a last-minute decision.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New England Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena
“[Teal Bunbury] is one of the finest athletes I’ve ever worked with. He’s a great guy, good family man, good teammate, very competitive person, and it’ll be good to see him again. We saw him a couple of weeks ago down in Florida and it was nice to chat with him. It’ll be great to have him back. I have a lot of respect for him and he’s a good person.”
New England Revolution midfielder Matt Polster
“They’re a unit. I think they defend as a group. They’re all willing to work hard for each other and that’s what makes them difficult to play against. They obviously have, I think, three clean sheets now, so it’s going to be difficult to score, but I think we have certain players that can unlock defenses, so I think we’ll be alright.”