MLS Regular Season | Match #32
New England Revolution at Orlando City SC
Saturday, October 7 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Exploria Stadium | Orlando, FL
Watch: Free on Apple TV
English Talent: Tony Husband (Play-by-Play), Ross Smith (Analyst)
Spanish Talent: Ramses Sandoval (Play-by-Play), Walter Roque (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
5th in Eastern Conference (14-7-10, 52 pts.)
Last Result | 2-1 loss vs. Columbus Crew
As the 2023 MLS regular season nears its conclusion, the New England Revolution head into Saturday’s trip to Orlando City SC eager to bounce back from a midweek defeat and reignite hopes of securing homefield advantage in Round One of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. A 2-1 reverse against the Columbus Crew – the team’s first home loss of the season – saw the hosts slip to fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, but with a game in hand over all other teams in the top six, the Revolution have three regular season matches left to play – all against fellow playoff contenders. In what is an exceptionally tight race for a top-four finish, New England sit just five points behind second-placed Orlando, and with the chance to lift themselves back up to third spot with a victory, the Revs will look to continue their fine recent record against the Lions to kickstart their campaign at a crucial time.
Orlando City SC
2nd in Eastern Conference (16-7-9, 57 pts.)
Last Result | 1-0 win at Nashville SC
Orlando City SC enter this weekend’s clash in superb form. Unbeaten in nine of their last 10 games with seven wins and two draws, the Lions have climbed to second spot in the Eastern Conference. With just two regular season games to go, the 2022 U.S. Open Cup winners sit three points ahead of third-placed Philadelphia Union and will hope to cement their top-four status to claim home advantage in the playoffs, having tallied 8-3-5 at Exploria Stadium this term. Riding a run of momentum since Leagues Cup, Óscar Pareja’s men are the sixth-highest scorers in the East – two goals behind New England – and have netted 18 goals in their last 10 games. The Floridian outfit also boast the division’s second-meanest defense with just 37 goals conceded in their 32 league games, and were victorious in their last two games with shutout triumphs over CF Montréal and Nashville SC.
New England head into Saturday’s encounter with a nine-match unbeaten streak against Orlando, winning five and drawing four in regular season action since 2018. The Revs lead the all-time series 7-2-7, and have emerged victorious from the last two meetings. Emmanuel Boateng, Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil found the net in the most recent fixture – a 3-1 triumph at Gillette Stadium in June – while the Revolution also bagged three goals in the last visit to Exploria Stadium with Matt Polster, Wilfrid Kaptoum and Henry Kessler on the scoresheet in an impressive clean sheet win.
Overall Record vs. Orlando: 8-3-7
Home Record vs. Orlando: 6-0-2
Last meeting at Gillette Stadium: Revs 3, Orlando 1 (June 17, 2023)
Last meeting at Exploria Stadium: Revs 3, Orlando 0 (August 6, 2022)
Revolution forward Tomás Chancalay
A July loan recruit from Racing Club, the Argentine forward has hit the ground running in a Revolution uniform, bagging four goals in his first eight appearances for the club, including two in his last three games. Upon his midseason move to Massachusetts, the 24-year-old asserted he wanted to make an impact in the Revs’ playoff push, and announced his arrival with a brace on his third appearance, against Austin FC. Since then, he has found the net against Chicago Fire FC and the Columbus Crew, and has already crafted the fifth-most shots for the Revs in 2023 (25). Wednesday’s visit of the Crew saw the winger unleash eight efforts on goal – the most in one game for a Revs player this term. Leveling the score with a well-taken half-volley from DeJuan Jones’ cross, he earned a place on the MLS Team of the Matchday bench. With seven successive starts, Chancalay is increasing in confidence each game, and coming up against a solid defensive outfit in Orlando, his attacking quality could be key in helping New England to clinch a positive result.
Orlando City SC midfielder Facundo Torres
With eight goal involvements in his last nine appearances, Torres has powered Orlando to second spot in the Eastern Conference as the Lions’ top scorer for 2023. Bagging 13 goals in MLS action, he has netted three more than forward teammate Duncan McGuire, and sits four goals behind LAFC’s Dénis Bouanga in the race for the MLS Golden Boot. On the scoresheet in last weekend’s 3-0 win over CF Montréal, the Uruguayan lifted himself to third place in the club’s all-time scoring charts, collecting Iván Angulo’s cross and applying a cool finish to complete the scoring at Exploria Stadium. The strike earned his eighth inclusion to the MLS Team of the Matchday in 2023. Topping his side’s charts this year for game-winning goals (5), shots (63), crosses (31) and key passes (47) – and with a 5/5 record for penalties – Torres has been a star man for Óscar Pareja’s side, and was nominated alongside New England captain Carles Gil for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award. With Torres in torrid form and fellow midfielders Martín Ojeda and Mauricio Pereyra both notching double figures for assists (10), the Revolution will need to be prepared to face a strong Orlando offense.
New England Revolution
Goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík could earn his first selection to the matchday squad, while Nacho Gil may be back in contention after missing Wednesday night’s visit of the Columbus Crew with a right leg injury. Henry Kessler is edging closer to his first minutes since suffering a hamstring issue in April, but Ian Harkes is unavailable after missing the last two matches with a head injury. Elsewhere, Damián Rivera (knee) has also been ruled out, and Brandon Bye (ACL) and Dylan Borrero (knee) are long-term absentees.
Orlando City SC
Defender Antônio Carlos returned to action for the final minutes of Orlando’s trip to Nashville following a leg injury, having last appeared in Leagues Cup play. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Adam Grinwis is out with a thigh problem, and forward Favian Loyola (arm injury) has not featured since coming off the bench in injury-time of the Chicago Fire’s visit in early July.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Revolution interim head coach Clint Peay on a quick turnaround from the game against Columbus:
“I think it’s very challenging for the players, and obviously we have to travel as well. There’s a lot to consider in terms of how you want to get prepared physically for a game like this, and mentally. It won’t be easy to go down to Orlando after just two days off.”
On the challenges of facing Orlando City and forward Facundo Torres:
“They work incredibly hard and they’re organized offensively. For us, it’s how you can manipulate them to create spaces to exploit their aggressiveness at times. We’ve got to do a good job in the final third with executing, and being aggressive and better when we turn teams over in that attacking half. We did a good job last game [against Columbus] but in our press, we want to turn those into goalscoring opportunities when we turn them over.
“You have to be aware of [Torres’] quality in and around the goal. We’ve got to make sure that we’re tight to him in our defense and try to limit those opportunities. At the end of the day, we just have to do it collectively as a group. You have to make sure guys are there to help if he’s in one-v-one scenarios and just do a good job with him.”
On finishing out the final three games of the season strongly:
“It’s very important. You want to have the right feeling going into the playoffs, and feel confident about what you’re doing and [have] belief in what you’re doing – feeling like no matter who you play, you’re going to be really successful. Putting good performances together, scoring goals, and keeping clean sheets is huge.”
On the biggest challenge he has faced since being named interim head coach:
“I think trying to implement a new way of playing, but also still being competitive in terms of creating goal chances and keeping clean sheets. It takes a little more time, but we certainly think it’s a good way to go forward. Then, just health – we’ve had some key guys out since I’ve taken over, and getting those guys back and incorporating them so that they’re ready for playoffs is a little bit of a challenge. These games are important, and finding minutes for those guys is important as well. It becomes challenging to balance both at times.”
Revolution captain Carles Gil on preparing for Saturday’s match in Orlando:
“Obviously there isn’t much time to prepare for the game, to rest, but we need to be ready. Orlando is always a similar team every year with very good players. This season, they are doing very well and they are improving. It will be different from the game we had at home [3-1 win]. If we want to play at home in the playoffs, we need to win. It’s a very important game for us to try to be an important team doing very good things. Hopefully, we can do it.”
On his mentality in bouncing back after a loss:
“I’m always very angry when I lose. This year, it’s one night or one day. After that, I want to play as soon as possible. It’s true that after losing against Columbus, personally for me, the best thing is to play as soon as possible and try to win again. I’m lucky because we play [on Saturday]. Obviously, it’s hard because we didn’t rest a lot, but we need to be ready. The team is ready to go to Orlando, have a good game, and win.”
On the new system the team has implemented under Clint Peay:
“It’s always difficult when we have a new coach during the season. The way that it’s happening, I think we’re doing good things, [making] progress. We don’t have too much time to train, so it’s never easy. We are doing good things. Obviously, we need to continue to improve. I’m sure we’ll be ready for the next games and the playoffs.”
On the impact of Gustavo Bou returning from injury:
“It’s always important to bring back players. Gustavo is very important for us. Also, Henry [Kessler] now, he’s back on the list. We’re very happy for him. Hopefully, we continue having players fit and ready for the playoffs.”
On where and how he looks to find possession:
“Normally, it depends on which team we’re playing against, what I look for in the first minutes of the game. Sometimes we play against a team that plays in man-to-man, like Charlotte [FC]. It depends. I know that I’m dangerous in the last third of the pitch. Sometimes I’m thinking that the team needs another Carles. Sometimes the coach is demanding a lot of things from me. I’m trying to help the team.”