FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s a storied rivalry in league history as the New England Revolution will host one of their longtime foes, the New York Red Bulls, on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
With two weeks to prepare for the Red Bulls' visit due to the international break, the Revs have had time to truly focus in on their opponent.
“[It] looks like they changed the way they play a little bit,” said DeJuan Jones. “They play a little bit more out of the back and they move the ball well in midfield so it’s going to be a challenge.
“We know they’re going to be aggressive. It’s going to be a fight for 90 minutes, so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Red Bulls' aggression has been apparent in their opening games (2-1-1). Through their first four matches, RBNY have averaged approximately 15.5 shots per game, with seven on target. Both of their wins this year have been dominant road performances with at least three goals, as well.
To complement their commitment going forward, the Red Bulls have also been a high fouling team, averaging 22.25 fouls per game.
“They’re a direct team, but we’ve seen this year that they can play through the midfield as well,” said Henry Kessler. “They’re a physical team. They press really high so they present a lot of challenges.”
Not only are the Revs placing a strong focus on film and familiarizing themselves with their opponent, but they're also emphasizing how they can improve themselves ahead of Saturday.
“We focused a little bit on Red Bulls already,” said Kessler. “We know they’re a high-pressing team. They get after it so we’ve focused a bit on that.
“But I think the thing we focused on most is defense. We’ve given up nine goals the last three games so that’s something we need to improve on.”
For comparison, in the Revs' record-setting 73-point season in 2021, New England gave up nine goals through their last seven regular season games. With nine goals conceded in three games within eight days in mid-March, the players hold themselves accountable and know they can perform better.
A match against one of their longtime foes is just what the Revs need to get back on track.
“[We’re] just getting back into a rhythm,” said Jones. “We know the Red Bulls are going to press hard so when we win the ball we want to be able to keep that first pass out of pressure and then just get the ball moving and switch the field.”