MLS Regular Season | Match #3
New England Revolution at Los Angeles FC
Sunday, March 12 | 10:30 p.m. ET
BMO Stadium | Los Angeles, Calif.
Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
- English Talent: Max Bretos (play-by-play), Brian Dunseth (analyst)
- Spanish Talent: Rodolfo Landeros (play-by-play), Martin Zuniga (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
T-1st in Eastern Conference (2-0-0, 6 pts.)
Last Result | 3-0 win vs. Houston Dynamo FC
Back-to-back shutout wins over Charlotte FC (1-0) and Houston Dynamo FC (3-0) have the Revs off to a perfect start in 2023, one of just two Eastern Conference teams to win their first two matches. They’re also one of just six teams leaguewide yet to concede a goal, as they’ve been solid defensively from front to back in helping goalkeeper Djordje Petrović to his eighth and ninth MLS clean sheets in just 23 appearances.
New England’s goals have come from four different players, including a pair of defenders (Henry Kessler and Brandon Bye), one midfielder (Dylan Borrero), and one forward (Bobby Wood). Inter Miami are the only other team to feature as many as four different goal scorers through the first two weeks of the season.
Los Angeles FC
3rd in Western Conference (1-0-0, 3 pts.)
Last Result (MLS) | 3-2 win vs. Portland Timbers
Last Result (CCL) | 3-0 win at Alajuelense
The defending Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup champions also have two wins from two games in 2023, scoring three goals in each of their victories. After their season opener against the rival LA Galaxy was postponed because of severe weather, LAFC kicked off the 2023 regular season campaign with a 3-2 win over the Portland Timbers last weekend at BMO Stadium, racing out to a 3-0 lead before holding off a late charge from the visitors. Steve Cherundolo’s side then began the Concacaf Champions League in fine fashion with a 3-0 road win over Alajuelense in Costa Rica.
LAFC’s hectic start to the season will continue with Sunday night’s meeting with the Revs, Wednesday night’s return leg against Alajuelense, and a Saturday afternoon trip to visit Seattle Sounders FC.
Revolution midfielder Latif Blessing
One of New England’s key offseason acquisitions, Latif Blessing made his Revolution debut with an 85-minute performance in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Houston, excelling on the right side of a diamond midfield. Blessing registered a team-high three tackles, added four possessions gained, and won eight of his 14 duels, prompting sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena to call his performance “excellent’ and note that there were “a dozen plays he made in that game that just go unnoticed.”
Blessing will now head back to Los Angeles to face his former club, where he set club records for appearances (145) and minutes played (9,749) while racking up 14 goals and 23 assists in five seasons. The 26-year-old Ghanaian made 30 appearances last season to help LAFC to a Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup title.
LAFC forward Dénis Bouanga
It’s unclear exactly what LAFC’s lineup will look like on Sunday night as the defending champs host the Revs in between their two-legged Concacaf Champions League series with Alajuelense, which began with a trip to Costa Rica on Thursday night and will conclude with the home leg on Wednesday evening in LA. While there will likely be some form of rotation, some players may see time in all three games.
One potential candidate is Dénis Bouanga, who bagged all three goals in LAFC’s 3-0 win at Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium after registering an assist in the season-opening win over Portland last weekend. The 28-year-old Gabon international debuted late in the 2022 season and scored one goal in seven regular season appearances before scoring twice in the playoffs.
Gustavo Bou could be in line for a 2023 debut on Sunday night at BMO Stadium, as the DP forward completed his second week of training ahead of the Revolution’s trip to the West Coast. Bou missed New England’s preseason preparations while in Argentina working to obtain his green card, but sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena has been pleased with Bou’s progress since arriving in Foxborough in late February.
“It’s been real positive,” Arena said of getting Bou back into the mix. “He came in, actually, in pretty good shape, and the last week or so has helped him get closer to game fitness. The goal is to get him through the week of practice and hopefully have him in our gameday roster.
“He’s an experienced guy. He believes in the club, and he loves it here. He’s a goal scorer, and there aren’t that many goal scorers out there. Those are the guys that get paid a little bit more, usually, on all the teams, and he could score goals. So, to have another player with those kinds of qualities is a positive.”
Six players, meanwhile, are listed as out for the weekend: Andrew Farrell (right leg), Nacho Gil (right leg), Jacob Jackson (left ACL), Maciel (left Achilles), Tommy McNamara (left leg), and Ryan Spaulding (left leg). Arena noted that Farrell “should be ready” for the Revolution’s home game against Nashville SC next weekend, while McNamara “is a little bit behind him.”
Jack Panayotou, who missed the first two games of the season because of illness, has returned to training and no longer appears on the Revolution’s availability report.
Player availability report not currently available.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New England Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena
“It’s great for our mentality, team spirit, and all of that. It’s a real positive. However, there are 32 games left in the regular season, so we’ve got to take everything in stride. It’s early. All the teams in the league are a little bit sloppy at this point in time and it generally takes, in this league, a couple months before teams start getting in good form.”
New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil
“Of course, it will be a very difficult game. [LAFC is] a big team, with big players, but obviously it’s a good moment for us to see our level and to try and get the three points.”