The New England Revolution are back in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2015, and they're excited about the challenge ahead against Atlanta United FC.
The message was made clear this week from Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil that Saturday's matchup is going to be a difficult one, but the Revs have a good idea of what to expect when they take the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
"Atlanta United is a tough game, a tough team," Gil said. "They have a lot of experience playing in the playoffs, they are the current champions. It's going to be a great atmosphere at their stadium but we played them last game and I think we're trying to use that as a benchmark for what to expect in this coming game. But we know the playoffs, it's going to be a completely new game for us, for them. So, we just need to come out there and give it our best shot to win the game."
Bou elaborated on what Gil had to say, while detailing what the Revs need to do to be successful in Atlanta.
"The Atlanta game is going to be a hard game," Bou said. "The atmosphere is going to be crazy, but luckily for us we played them two weeks ago. So, we will be using that game as a bit of a reference, a benchmark. We know what worked well for us in that game and also what didn't work well. We learned from that game and the key for us will be to stay together. The forwards need to be the first defender, we all have to push up and score a goal as fast as we can, but another key as the game progresses is to not allow any goals obviously, and try to score as early as we can in the game. That's going to be the key for us."
While they did play the Five Stripes in their last game of the season, that was nearly two weeks ago, and head coach Bruce Arena thinks his team will benefit from the time off.
"For our team I think it's been a plus," Arena said. "I think we needed a little bit of a break. We've been going all the way through. So, I think it's nice to have had a little bit of a break. Overall it's been good because I do think that we've been challenged throughout the second half of the season. To be able to step away from it a little bit, get a little bit refreshed and then be ready to come in and give it your best effort both mentally and physically, I think the break has been good."
Despite getting enough rest, the Revs will experience a great challenge ahead, and Arena added that his team will be more excited than intimidated heading into the match.
"I think we travel well," Arena said. "I think we've played in some good venues against good teams, so the team is focused on that. It's the same case this weekend. I don't think they'll be intimidated by the environment as much as they'll be excited and looking forward to the challenge. So, I think going on the road is something we've enjoyed."
While Atlanta is the defending MLS Cup Champions, New England is well prepared and ready to rally as underdogs behind both Gil and Bou.
You can watch the Revs take on Atlanta United Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Boston or stream it right here.
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