Audi MLS Cup Playoffs | Play-In Round
New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact
Friday, November 20 | 6:30 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Mass.
Watch: FS1 (English), FOX Deportes (Spanish)
Listen (English): 98.5 The Sports Hub, SiriusXM FC Channel 157, WPKZ (105.3 FM, 1280 AM)
Listen (Portuguese): 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA
Revolution Pregame Live presented by Dan O’Brien Automotive Group (5:45 p.m. ET)
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New England Revolution
8th in Eastern Conference (8-7-8, 32 pts., 1.39 ppg)
Last Result | 2-0 loss at Philadelphia Union
Decision Day didn’t pan out the way the Revs had hoped as their 2-0 loss to Supporters’ Shield winners Philadelphia Union saw them drop from 6th to 8th in the Eastern Conference, which is why they find themselves hosting Montreal in Friday night’s Play-In Round.
While the Revs were disappointed with how they closed the regular season they’ll be confident against an Impact side they’ve already faced four times in 2020, winning the past three meetings while scoring seven goals in the process. In the only prior meeting at Gillette Stadium, three different goal scorers lifted the Revs to a 3-1 win.
The winner of Friday night’s match will advance to Round 1 of the playoffs, where they’ll travel to face either the No. 1 seed Philadelphia Union or the No. 2 seed Toronto FC on Tuesday, November 24.
9th in Eastern Conference (8-13-2, 26 pts., 1.13 ppg)
Last Result | 3-2 win at D.C. United
First-year head coach Thierry Henry has led the Impact back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, and they clinched their berth in dramatic fashion with a 3-2 win at D.C. United on Decision Day. Trailing 2-1 into the closing stages and with their season on the line, Montreal got goals from Victor Wanyama (74th minute) and Romell Quioto (88th minute) to claim a vital victory.
The win provided a much-needed emotional boost for the Impact, who went 3-9-1 over the season’s final two months, including a pair of losses to the Revs both at home and on the road.
Revolution midfielder Carles Gil
One month ago it was still unclear whether Carles Gil would feature again in 2020, as the Revs captain was on the road to recovery following surgery to debride his left Achilles tendon. But the playmaking midfielder returned earlier than expected, making four appearances – including two starts – in the season’s final weeks.
That injury limited Gil to just two 90-minute performances in the regular season, but one of them was against this Montreal Impact side at the MLS is Back Tournament. Gil was dominant that night, creating 12 chances according to Opta – including five from set pieces – and assisting on Gustavo Bou’s goal in the Revolution’s 1-0 win.
Montreal Impact midfielder Bojan
Romell Quioto has been the Impact’s most consistent attacking presence this season, leading the team in both goals (8) and assists (6) in his first season with Montreal. But it is dynamic midfielder Bojan who could prove to be the Impact’s biggest wildcard heading into the Play-In Round.
Almost all of Bojan’s offensive production this season has come since late September, as the 30-year-old Spaniard has registered four goals and one assist in his last nine appearances, including Montreal’s first goal in their Decision Day victory at D.C. United.
Only the duo of Luis Caicedo and Cristian Penilla – both out for the year with longer-term injuries – is listed as not medically cleared ahead of Friday, meaning the Revs are close to full health as they enter the postseason.
Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou both recently returned from injury and started alongside each other for the first time since July on Decision Day in Philadelphia. It was Gil’s fourth straight appearance and second straight start since returning to the fold in mid-October, and he said those minutes have pushed him close to full fitness.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to return ahead of schedule in time for the end of the regular season,” Gil said via translator. “I didn’t play a lot in the first few games and there were a lot of games in a short period of time. I’ve been able to train, which is what I needed to find my rhythm. I knew that the first few games would be tough. I felt good in Philadelphia. The past few days have been great. I feel as though I’m practically at 100 percent.”
DeJuan Jones, who missed the regular-season finale through injury, has also returned to full training, and is expected to be available for selection on Friday.
Impact captain Samuel Piette, who started 22 of Montreal’s 23 games this season, will be unavailable on Friday night as the rugged midfielder serves a one-game suspension following his sending off in the closing stages of the Decision Day win over D.C. United.
Lassi Lappalainen and Mathieu Choinière are also expected to miss Friday night’s Play-In match as both appear on the Impact’s “not medically cleared” list ahead of the weekend.
Thierry Henry also confirmed on Thursday that central midfielder Victor Wanyama will be unavailable against the Revs as the 29-year-old returns from international duty with Kenya.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena
“This year has been very hectic, but an organized way of being hectic. We knew what we were doing, but it was hectic because of the circumstances and certainly challenging. This year I think has been a phenomenal effort on behalf of the league and the players and the coaches and everyone involved, because it’s been real difficult going from the three- or four-month layoff we had when the league shut down, to the bubble, to returning from the bubble. To think now we are finished with the regular season, we actually have playoffs, and we’ll have an MLS Cup is, to me, absolutely remarkable.”
New England Revolution center back Andrew Farrell
“After all this up and down this year and how crazy it’s been, why not keep putting in the effort? We’ve been doing it throughout this whole time and now it’s win or go home, and I don’t want to go home. So for me, that’s my motivation, I want to keep on playing, compete for trophies, and I want to win games. For a lot of guys it’s the same thing, we need to push each other to be better. Our last game, we didn’t do as well as we wanted to but being in the playoffs is a privilege and I think we need to step up and perform.”