FOXBOROUGH, Mass. –New England Revolution II (5-3-1; 17 pts.; 3rd in East) are set to host Columbus Crew 2 (6-1-1; 20 pts.; 2nd in East) at Gillette Stadium for a clash between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. and streams live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Last weekend, Revolution II battled back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Philadelphia Union II, 4-3. This marks the second straight come-from-behind victory for Revolution II after Homegrown midfielder Damian Rivera’s brace led the squad to a 3-2 victory over Toronto FC II on May 14. Against Philadelphia, Homegrown midfielder Esmir Bajraktarević’s three goals made him the first player in the team history to record a hat trick. Bajraktarević now owns five goals on the season, tying him for the team lead alongside Rivera and Revolution II forward Marcos Dias.
“These guys [Bajraktarević and Rivera] are talented young players that can be difference makers,” head coach Clint Peay said following last weekend’s win. “These games are important for them to continue to build their confidence as attackers and as guys who can be playmakers. They've shown when they come and play with us. I know that it's just going to help them as they continue to get opportunities with the first team.”
New England’s attack holds its position as the top-scoring unit in MLS NEXT Pro. Revolution II’s 24 goals place them ahead of Crown Legacy FC (21) and Colorado Rapids 2 (20). Bajraktarević also ranks among the league’s best with an MLS Next Pro high of three goals outside the 18 this season. He also sits tied for fifth-most goals in the league, having only played three games with Revolution II this season.
New England last saw Columbus on April 16, falling 3-0 to the defending MLS NEXT Pro Cup Champions. Jordan Adebayo-Smith and Weverton led Revolution II with two shots, one on target each, as goalkeeper Nico Campuzano made two saves in the match. With a 2-1-1 home record this season, Thursday’s contest marks New England’s first home match since April 30 as Revolution II is set to host Columbus and Inter Miami in a span of four days.
“It's Columbus first and that's all we're worried about,” Peay said. “We want to take stock and figure out where we are physically and also thinking about what's going to make the most sense. Columbus is a good team and has always given us challenges. We've got our work cut out for us this week to prepare.”
WHAT TO WATCH FOR AGAINST COLUMBUS CREW 2:
- Revolution II adding to their league-leading 24 goals scored so far this season.
- Forward Jordan Adebayo-Smith adding on to his team leading 24 shots, 10 on target. The East London native is ranked sixth in the league in total shots so far this season.
- Forward Marcos Dias adding to his five goals on the 2023 season. Dias stands alongside Homegrown midfielders Esmir Bajraktarević and Damian Rivera as tied for third in the league in goals scored so far this year.
- Any Revolution Academy players making their professional debuts, adding to the 27 Academy products who have debuted with the team to date.