The New England Revolution lost their season opener to the Montreal Impact 2-1 last weekend, but now they're preparing to host the Chicago Fire in their home opener at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
The Fire also lost their opener 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders last weekend, which sets the Revs up for another heated matchup against their rival.
It's going to be a difficult one for the Revolution, but head coach Bruce Arena is confident in his squad heading into match day. If there's one thing the Revs should focus on, it's the creative strikers who have the ability to attack from many different angles, Arena noted.
"Well, I thought Chicago outplayed Seattle in the first half last week and were a little unlucky not to go in at halftime up a couple of goals," Arena told Elizabeth Pehota of revolutionsoccer.net. "They got an early goal in the game and then faded, but they showed me a lot of good things. They have a bunch of good attacking players. They attack you from all positions on the field, so we're going to have to be at our best defensively to stop them because they're a good team going forward."
If there's one player the Revolution defenders need to be aware of, it's designated player Robert Beric. The native of Slovenia scored his first career MLS goal in his league debut against the Sounders, and his shot and creative ability will be something the Revs need to neutralize on Saturday.
"Well, like any player, I think he's actually pretty similar to (Adam) Buksa and he's a classic number nine," Arena said. "He plays in the penalty area and runs in front of the goal, so those types of players you have to negate the service. So, we have to do a good job on their wide players."
While defense is a major key to New England beating Chicago, the Revs have to get their offense going as well. Players like Teal Bunbury, Gustavo Bou, and Christian Penilla will need to get some good looks on goal, especially if the defense holds their own.
Unfortunately, they'll most likely be without their best player, Carles Gil, on the attack, but Arena provided a positive update on the forward Thursday afternoon.
"Well, he practiced today," Arena said of Gil on Zolak and Bertrand this afternoon. "So that was very encouraging, and there's a smile on his face so we're hopeful he'll be back in a short period of time. We have to make sure we don't bring him back too early and hurt him. We have a couple of players with muscle injuries, so you have to be careful in the early going. We're going to do what makes sense. It's still a long season. We'd like to win all the games, but we know that's not possible now at this point. We have to think long-term as well."
🗣️ "We're gonna be a better a team having Carles Gil playing 30-32 games than playing 20 games, so we gotta make sure he's fully healthy when he steps back on the field."— NE Revolution on NBCSB (@NBCSRevs) March 5, 2020
Bruce Arena gave an injury update on star midfielder Carles Gil on @ZoandBertrand this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/WMKvSuYPUW
In their last meeting at Gillette Stadium, the Revolution defeated Chicago 2-1, and have an overall home record against the Fire of 17-11-3. So, while they look to get back on track, the Revs have a lot to look forward to in their upcoming match.