New England Revolution vs. Real Salt Lake | 2017 MLS Match Preview
New England Revolution vs. Real Salt Lake
2017 MLS Regular Season
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Mass.
Saturday, May 13 - 7:30 p.m. ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
Four weeks ago, the New England Revolution looked like they were building some momentum. They'd won two and drawn one in their previous three, the attack seemed to be coming together, and the new-look backline was holding up reasonably well. They've gone 0-2-3 in the five games since, including a dispiriting 2-0 loss at Columbus this past weekend, and are all the way down in ninth place (2-4-4, 10 points) in the Eastern Conference.
They're now embarking upon something of an early, do-or-die portion of the schedule with four of the next six at home. If things don't start coming together, the margin of error this summer will shrink considerably.
Real Salt Lake might already be at that spot. After a good two-game start under new boss Mike Petke they've dropped three straight, conceding three times in each. DP attacker Joao Plata was benched, the defense is still a mix-and-match adventure because of injuries and now the international absence of Justen Glad (US U-20 national team), and RSL are down to 10th place in the West (2-6-2, 8 points)
The Revs have just not been able to put together a complete 90 minutes on both sides of the ball this year, but the defense has become especially problematic of late. Neither new acquisition, Antonio Mlinar Delamea and Benjamin Angoua, has been a dominant presence, and defensive midfielder Xavier Kouassi has alternated encouraging performances with occasional recklessness in possession that's been costly.
At times the attack has been good enough to carry them to a point or three, but even that has a habit of going AWOL as Jay Heaps has had to tinker with lineups and roles. Kelyn Rowe has spent more time at left back than in the midfield recently, Lee Nguyen has swapped second forward for midfield playmaker and back again, and Kei Kamara has been in and out of the lineup for various reasons.
- Suspended: None.
- International Duty: None.
- Injury report: none
Probable Starting XI (4-4-2 diamond): Cody Cropper (GK) - Andrew Farrell, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Joshua Smith, Kelyn Rowe - Xavier Kouassi, Diego Fagundez, Scott Caldwell, Lee Nguyen - Kei Kamara, Juan Agudelo
Notes:The Revolution have only won one of their last nine regular season games against RSL (6L-2D). They have kept consecutive clean sheets against RSL (1W-1D), but had conceded 18 goals in the previous seven games.
Real Salt Lake
Things went from bad on the road at Sporting KC in Week 9 to worse at home against FC Dallas in Week 10. RSL just weren't competitive with two of the best teams in the league, lacking answers up top, in the midfield and on the backline, while backup goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel struggled to fill Nick Rimando's shoes.
With four of six on the road, things are about to get even tougher, especially since they'll be without Glad, Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Saucedo, all three of whom were named to the US roster for the U-20 World Cup. Glad, who's been recovering from an injury suffered back in February, had yet to play this year. But Lennon has been one of this season's few bright spots and Saucedo had his best MLS performance last week against Dallas.
The good news is that help arrived this week in the form of Venezuelan winger Jefferson Savarino, who was signed as a young DP after starring for club and country. How he fits – and if he plays immediately – both remain to be seen, but it's clear RSL aren't going to stand pat as their season starts to get away from them.
- Suspensions: None
- Int’l Duty: Justen Glad, Brooks Lennon, Sebastian Saucedo (U-20 World Cup), Danilo Acosta (U-20 alternate)
- Injury Report: OUT: F - Chad Barrett (knee surgery, 4-6 months); OUT: D - David Horst (knee surgery, 6-8 weeks); QUESTIONABLE: M - Jordan Allen (right quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: D - Tony Beltran (back injury) QUESTIONABLE: GK - Nick Rimando (hamstring injury) QUESTIONABLE: M - Kyle Beckerman (calf strain)
Projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Matt Van Oekel – Chris Wingert, Aaron Maund, Chris Schuler, Demar Phillips – Stephen Sunday, Luke Mulholland – Jefferson Savarino, Albert Rusnak, Joao Plata – Yura Movsisyan
Notes: RSL have missed 11 ‘big chances’ so far this year, the second-most of any MLS team ... RSL have lost three straight league games. That last happened from October 14-25, 2015. They have not lost four straight regular-season games since the 2011 season (September 25-October 6).
- Overall: New England 8 wins, 25 goals; RSL 9 wins, 34 goals; 5 draws
- In New England: New England 3 wins, 16 goals; RSL 4 wins, 13 goals; 2 draws.
- Referee: Hilario Grajeda
- AR1: Adam Garner
- AR2: Kevin Klinger
- Fourth official: Geoff Gamble