TOR_AT_Preview

MLS Regular Season | Match #20
New England Revolution at Toronto FC
Saturday, August 14 | 8 p.m. ET
BMO Field | Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Watch: TV38, myRITV
Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub (English), WBIX 1260 Nossa Radio (Portuguese)
Revolution Pregame Live (7:15 p.m. ET)
- Facebook, YouTube, revolutionsoccer.net

CURRENT FORM

New England Revolution
1st in Eastern Conference (12-3-4, 40 pts.)
Last Result | 2-1 win vs. Philadelphia Union

Last weekend’s 2-1 win over the Union stretched the Revolution’s unbeaten run to six games (5-0-1), while at the same time improved their home record to a league-best 7-1-1. Matt Polster scored his first goal in a Revolution jersey – combining with Tommy McNamara on a give-and-go – while Gustavo Bou moved into a tie for the MLS Golden Boot lead with his 11th goal, including 10 in the past 12 games.

New England enter the weekend with a six-point lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, while they’ve built a 10-point gap at the top of the Eastern Conference. They’ve reached the 40-point mark in less than 20 games for the first time in club history, and are the only team in MLS averaging more than two points per game.

Toronto FC
14th in Eastern Conference (3-9-6, 15 pts.)
Last Result | 2-2 draw vs. New York City FC

TFC erased an early 2-0 deficit to claw back for a 2-2 draw with New York City FC last weekend, getting second-half goals from Richie Laryea and Alejandro Pozuelo at BMO Field. Although they still sit at the bottom of the East standings, Toronto have been reinvigorated under head coach Javier Perez – who had the interim tag removed earlier this week – as they’ve gone 2-1-4 since he took over in early July.

The current run of one loss in seven began with a 3-2 victory over the Revs at Gillette Stadium, as TFC are the only visiting team to win in Foxborough this season. They’re also settling back into their digs at BMO Field, drawing all four matches since they were permitted to begin hosting games in Canada.

KEY PLAYERS

Revolution midfielder Matt Polster
Matt Polster showed an ability to get forward by scoring his first goal in a Revolution jersey last weekend, but the former Rangers man brings so much more to New England’s midfield. The 28-year-old’s passing percentage of 89.3 is second-best on the team (just 0.1 behind fellow central midfielder Maciel), while his 29 interceptions are first and his 21 tackles are tied for first.

Polster has been an indispensable part of the Revolution midfield this season, appearing in all 19 games while starting 17, and he could have a significant role to play on Saturday night helping slow down Alejandro Pozuelo.

Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo
Alejandro Pozuelo has been an MVP-caliber star since arriving in Toronto prior to the 2019 season, racking up 23 goals and 25 assists in 58 appearances over his first two seasons. The 29-year-old Spaniard has been named to the MLS Best XI both years, and took home league MVP honors after the abbreviated 2020 campaign.

Pozuelo got off to a slow start in 2021 with no goals and two assists through his first eight appearances, but he found his form in last weekend’s draw with NYCFC. After setting up Richie Laryea’s 49th-minute goal to pull TFC within one, Pozuelo then bagged the equalizer with his first goal of the season just six minutes later.

STATUS REPORT

Revolution
Carles Gil will miss a third straight game on Saturday as the Revolution captain and MLS MVP frontrunner continues to recover from a muscle injury, while Luis Caicedo is also listed as out.

Jon Bell, meanwhile, is no longer listed on the Revolution’s availability report after missing the past three games with an injury suffered on July 25 against CF Montréal.

Toronto
A trio of TFC players are listed as out ahead of Saturday’s match: Ayo Akinola, Tsubasa Endoh, and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty. Akinola had three goals in 11 appearances this season before tearing his ACL while on international duty with Canada during the Concacaf Gold Cup, while Endoh scored the game-winning goal in TFC’s 3-2 victory over the Revs five weeks ago.

Dom Dwyer and Chris Mavinga, meanwhile, are both listed as questionable.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena
“(Matt Polster) is doing a good, solid job. It’s a relatively new position for him, and he’s obviously improved since last year. He’s had some real good moments. Obviously, a great goal the other day against Philadelphia. We’ve seen progress this year from last year. That’s good, and hopefully he can continue.”

New England Revolution midfielder Tommy McNamara
“We've just taken everything one game at a time, and whether we've been missing players or not missing players, everybody's together, everybody stepped up and helped contribute, and made a positive impact in this group so far this year and we kind of need to continue to do the same thing. There's still a lot of games left to play. It's great that we've done so well this far, but we haven't accomplished anything yet. We need to continue the mindset of focusing on one game at a time and try to give everything as a group to win that game and then move on to the next one.”

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