FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The transition into the Bruce Arena era continues on Saturday afternoon when the New England Revolution will travel north of the border to visit the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo.
Kickoff between the Revs (3-8-2, 11 pts.) and Impact (6-5-2, 20 pts.) is set for 1 p.m., with English coverage on NBC Sports Boston and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Portuguese radio listeners can tune into 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Revolution Postgame Live begins immediately after the final whistle on NBC Sports Boston – which will also stream the action on NBCSportsBoston.com and the NBC Sports mobile app for authenticated subscribers – while 98.5 The Sports Hub will also have 30 minutes of postgame coverage.
Current Form: Positive momentum building for Revs; Impact lingering near top of East
One of the more hectic weeks in club history saw the Revolution part ways with head coach Brad Friedel and general manager Michael Burns in the span of five days, paving the way for MLS legend Bruce Arena to take charge of soccer operations as New England’s sporting director and head coach.
Arena was officially introduced to the media on Thursday morning, and while he’ll take over sporting director duties immediately, he won’t be on the sidelines for this weekend’s trip to Montreal as interim head coach Mike Lapper will continue to lead the team at least through the end of the month.
Still, this week’s announcement has provided a bit of stability for the Revs, who can now move forward into the future with one of the most successful figures in MLS history leading the way.
“Guys are excited for our future and moving ahead,” said Teal Bunbury. “Whenever there are changes, there’s a little uncertainty residing in players, staff, and fans even, for that matter.
“You kind of have to do what you do best, and that’s still come to work, work hard in training, and kind of let your playing ease that uncertainty a little bit. But I think we’re all looking forward to where this club and organization is going to go.”
A midweek charity match against Chelsea FC raised more than $4 million in the fight against antisemitism, and the match itself provided an opportunity for several players to see important minutes, but it’s last weekend’s 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes that the Revs will be looking to build upon on Saturday afternoon.
That performance, coupled with the positive momentum of Arena’s arrival, gives the Revolution a bit of a boost heading into this weekend’s visit to Stade Saputo.
“We have to make sure that we play the same way we did against San Jose, and ultimately do whatever it takes to get a win,” said Bunbury. “It could be ugly, we could have zero possession – whatever it might be. But going there and being able to get three points is going to be huge for us.”
Montreal, meanwhile, continue to hover around the top of the Eastern Conference, currently four points back of leaders D.C. United. Following a 3-1-2 run through April the Impact have cooled down a bit in May, going 1-2-0 this month, including their first home loss of the season to New York City FC.
Montreal’s place near the top of the East is made all the more impressive by the fact that they’ve played 10 of their 13 games away from home, and their four road wins are the most in MLS.
Past Meetings: Revs in search of revenge after falling to Impact three weeks ago
This will be the second meeting between the Revs and Impact in the span of 25 days, as Remi Garde’s side came into Foxborough in late April and ran out 3-0 winners with a trio of late goals.
That snapped the Revs’ string of four straight shutout wins over the Impact at home, and there’s plenty for the Revs to take from that evening as they head into the rematch on Saturday afternoon.
“It will be two similar teams, I’m sure,” said Scott Caldwell. “Not a ton of changes in such a short period of time, but there’s a lot of stuff we can learn from that last one. They got the better of us that game and we hope to turn it around this time.”
New England have historically been fairly successful in Montreal, and although they lost on their only visit to Stade Saputo last season – a 4-2 setback in May – they won at the venue in both 2016 and 2017.
Injury Report: Fifth game in 15 days has Revs grinding through end of busy stretch
Homegrown duo Isaac Angking (knee surgery) and Justin Rennicks (Under-20 World Cup) will be unavailable for this weekend’s trip to Canada, while Luis Caicedo, Edgar Castillo, and Michael Mancienne were all given a rest when the Revolution hosted Chelsea FC midweek.
Several others played limited minutes on Wednesday night as the Revs close out their busiest stretch of the season, a jam-packed schedule that features five games in a 15-day stretch.
“I think guys are feeling good physically,” said Bunbury, who played 45 minutes against Chelsea. “I think having a good result against San Jose (last weekend), that always helps guys’ bodies feel better when you can get three points.
“We know Montreal is a good team, a good opponent. They play extremely well at home, so it’s going to be a tough matchup, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Final Thoughts: Caldwell says Revs focused on Montreal amidst hectic week
“Always, as players, we have to do our best not to focus on all the stuff off the field,” Caldwell said of the craziness of the past week. “We have to perform better on the field. It’s just something that we’re looking forward to doing. I keep saying that, but all the outside stuff, it’s something that we try not to focus on as much.
“We’re excited to work under Bruce, and he brings a great track record. Everyone’s excited to learn.”