New England Soccer Today

The Warm Up: #NEvORL

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Who: Revolution (0-1-0, 0 points) vs. Orlando City SC (1-0-0, 3 points)
What: Week 2 of the MLS regular season; Home Opener for the Revolution
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts
When: Saturday, Mar. 11 at 2:00pm ET
Watch: CSN New England, MLS Live, Direct Kick
Whistle: Jorge Gonzalez – Head Referee; Andrew Bigelow/Jose Da Silva – Assistant Referees; Alex Chilowicz – 4th Referee.
Weather: Low-mid 20s, Partially Sunny, Winds of 15-25 mph

Scouting the Opposition:

-Orlando City enters their third season in league with the hopes of clinching their first playoff berth. Orlando finished 2016 in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 9-11-14 record and 41 points, one behind the New England Revolution.

-The Lions enter the season without Kevin Molino, who was traded to Minnesota after scoring 11 goals and notching a team-high eight assists. Brek Shea, who made 27 appearances for Orlando City in 2016, was also traded in the offseason.

-Key additions were made as well for Orlando, particularly along their newly constructed defense. Will Johnson (who played right back in Week 1), Danny Toia, and Jonathan Spector are all acquired during the winter, and all three started last week, joining former reserve defender Jose Aja to form the team’s back line. The defense needed a severe makeover as Orlando City conceded an MLS-high 60 times in 2016.

-Orlando started their season defeating head coach Jason Kreis’ former team, NYCFC, 1-0 in the debut of their new stadium, Orlando City Stadium. Cyle Larin, who has led the team in scoring in each of the team’s first two seasons, scored the match’s only goal in the 15th minute heading in a cross from Giles Barnes. Goalkeeper Joe Bednik played exceptionally well, saving seven shots to keep a clean sheet.

-Orlando City played a standard 4-4-2 formation, shifting away from the 4-2-3-1 formation they played primarily last season.

-The team will be without Kaka, who was removed 11 minutes last Saturday with a hamstring injury, which will keep him out for six weeks. Giles Barnes, who was subbed for Kaka last week and assisted on the Larin goal, is likely to be Kaka’s replacement this week.

-Despite the positive result against NYCFC, Orlando has some cause for concern coming into Saturday’s match with the Revolution. Orlando only mustered a total of seven shots, and Larin’s goal was the only shot on target. It has yet to be seen how reliable the Orlando offense will be without Kevin Molino, and playing without Kaka is an additional blow.

Recent History:

-The short-lived series between Orlando and New England was been very even with each teams boasting a victory to go along with three draws.

-The five matchups between the teams have seen 19 goals, and every game has seen at least three goals scored.

-Orlando won the last match, a 3-1 victory at Camping World Stadium last July.

-The Revolution are unbeaten at home against Orlando in the small, two-game sample size. New England won 3-0 in September 2015 and drew 2-2 last April.

3 Things to Know:

1) Be on your best behavior (again): Last Saturday’s referee, Jose Carlos Rivero averaged 4.17 yellow cards per game, second highest in the MLS in 2016. Only this Saturday’s referee, Jorge Gonzalez, handed out more yellows, averaging 4.7 yellow cards per game last season.

2) Nguyen questionable: Lee Nguyen is currently nursing a right ankle injury that may hold him out of Saturday’s action. He’s listed as questionable on the injury report.

3) No reunion this weekend: Orlando City will be without former Revolution defender Kevin Alston, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. Alston appeared in two games against the Revs last season, but was an unused substitute in the lone Orlando-New England game at Gillette in 2016. Orlando is not scheduled to play another match in New England this season, so it will likely be another year until Alston makes his potential return to the Gillette Stadium turf.

Score prediction: The injury to Kaka will hurt Orlando, who were already trying to find their footing on offense without Kevin Molino. Orlando City will rely on Cyle Larin to get them on the board, but the offense is not as dangerous as years past. Meanwhile, the Revs return to Foxboro where they put up a solid 9-4-4 record in 2016. Nguyen may not be 100% and the weather may not be perfect, but the Revolution should have enough offense to overcome a depleted Orlando City. 2-1 New England.

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