Carles Gil

How to watch the Revolution's MLS Playoff match vs. Atlanta United

How to watch the Revolution's MLS Playoff match vs. Atlanta United

The New England Revolution return to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2015 when they take on defending MLS champion Atlanta United today at 1 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 

New England has rallied from the bottom of MLS in May (2-8-2, a league-low eight points) to secure a playoff berth after former US Men's National Team coach Bruce Arena was brought in as head coach and sporting director in May. 

From the hiring of Arena to their playoff-clinching win vs New York City FC Sept. 29, the Revs went  9-2-10 in a 21-game stretch, including an 11-game unbeaten streak this summer.

The Revs' Carles Gil was named MLS Newcomer of the Year after he led the team in goals (10) and assists (14)  and another recent signee, Gustavo Bou, has nine goals in his past 14 games, fourth-most in MLS in that span. 

It'll be a rematch of the regular-season finale, won by Atlanta United, 3-1, but that came after the Revs had clinched a playoff spot. The atmosphere, with a sellout crowd of 70,000 filling the stadium, figures to be much more intense and history isn't on New England's side. The Revs are 0-4-2 all-time against Atlanta and 0-3-0 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Here's how to watch the playoff matchup:

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Boston
On the web: 

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Revolution using last game against Atlanta as benchmark for upcoming playoffs

Revolution using last game against Atlanta as benchmark for upcoming playoffs

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.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

In appreciation of Carles Gil's special debut season with the Revs

In appreciation of Carles Gil's special debut season with the Revs

Some people may not have known who Carles Gil was at the start of the season, but they do now. Major League Soccer named Gil the Newcomer of the Year Wednesday, capping an outstanding first regular season in New England.

When the New England Revolution acquired Gil — in what was then a club-record transfer from Deportivo de La Coruña — nobody knew exactly what to expect from him.

Yes, he was a Designated Player signing. Yes, he played in La Liga and the English Premier League. Yes, he was just 26 years old and coming from Spain's second division.

Admittedly, I didn't know much more about him when news broke of his move to New England on January 30. So what do you do when you need info? You google it. A YouTube video pops up. I saw a stunning strike for Aston Villa in the FA Cup a few seasons ago. Great. Cool. Nice. The Revs got a young talented player with top-flight experience and a highlight reel goal on the web. But what did that really mean for Gil and the Revs? Nobody could answer that question.

Fast forward to today. Gil is one of four MLS players this season with double-digit goals and assists. Only one player — in historic fashion — had more combined goals and primary assists in 2019. LAFC's Carlos Vela, who is a lock to win MLS MVP, had a record-breaking goal-scoring season on a record-breaking team. In any other season, Gil may have been in the mix for more than just the award for the best debut season in MLS.

I wonder what Gil's MVP candidacy would be with a full season of Gustavo Bou on the roster, but La Pantera has only 14 games with the Spaniard.  

Gil's ability to score and create goals might be matched by his durability. He started all 34 matches this season with a target on his back. Just 2 players in the league suffered more fouls this season than the Revs midfielder. Hack-a-Gil did not work.

Carles still scored. Carles still assisted. Carles still played. He was subbed off just once and missed a grand total of eight whole minutes. 

His production was impressive, but so was his leadership on the field. Gil earned the captain's arm band in May shortly after the Revs shook up the coaching staff and front office, and he never looked back.

He's been the team's captain for the final 23 matches of the season en route to the team's first playoff berth since 2015, all while leading the team in both goals and assists. That's an achievent taller than Tacko Fall for any player, let alone a newcomer from Valencia, Spain, who had to adjust to a new league, a new country, and a new culture. 

I'll take Gil's goals, assists, and leadership seven days a week and twice on matchday. Those are all great. But what makes him so different from other talented players is the one thing he does to help his team win — everything.

Gil will do it all. He will do the dirty work. He will track back. He will defend. He will get down and dirty. He's a shark on the field who wants the ball at all times. And if he doesn't have it, then he'll go get it.

The relentless midfielder led the league in possessions won in the final-third. The next closest player had just over half as many. And If you couldn't take the ball away from him, he would make you pay for it. No other player had more successful passes ending in the final-third. He's dangerous in dangerous spots. And if he wasn't either of those, he would find a way to make sure he was. Mwah. Me gusta Carles Gil.

Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena wasn't quite as affectionate when speaking about Gil this week, but he sure was just as complimentary.

"To have a player with that kind of quality on your team is great. He's an excellent passer and he can score goals. He can defend, which often you don't see that out of players that play the kind of role he plays. He keeps the ball. He's a very good possession player as well. He does whatever the game asks of him. If that means tracking back into the defensive third, he does that. You rarely see that with a player of Carles' caliber. He's got a great mentality to be a team player as well as being an extremely talented player." 

It's been 259 days since the Revs added Gil and I finally learned what his addtion means: The Revs made the biggest offseason move in MLS and I am head over heels for Carles Gil. 

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