The Revolution have not lost a game in regulation time since July 8. Their reward? An unwelcome 19-day break leading into a three-game week, starting with a visit to CF Montreal Saturday.
Along with most Liga MX and MLS teams, the Revolution had to await the conclusion of the Leagues Cup to resume league play. Now, the Revolution (12-4-7, 43 points) will attempt to pick up where they left off, riding a six-game unbeaten streak (3-0-3) in all competitions. Four of those matches were in the Leagues Cup (1-0-3), ending with a penalty-kicks shootout loss to Queretaro FC Aug. 7.
That happened to be goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic’s last appearance for the Revolution, who now face possibly the toughest stretch of their season without him as he is in the process of moving to Chelsea FC on a $17 million transfer. His replacement against Montreal will be Earl Edwards Jr., with Czech Tomas Vaclik expected to join the team once Petrovic’s move is finalized.
Edwards has proven dependable, filling in for a win over Orlando City while Petrovic was with the Serbian national team, and a penalty-kicks victory over Atlas FC while Petrovic was negotiating a deal. Vaclik, 34, won the 2020 Europa League with Sevilla FC and helped Huddersfield Town avoid relegation from the League Championship last season.
Though they might have survived the Leagues Cup unbeaten, the Revolution were not unscathed. Right back Brandon Bye (season-ending knee surgery), forward Gustavo Bou (right leg), and captain Carles Gil (leg) were injured against Atlas.
Gil is expected to return against Montreal, but the team will be missing Bou, out for four weeks while rehabilitating in Argentina; defender Andrew Farrell (undisclosed injury); plus sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena, who was placed on administrative leave by the league three weeks ago.
“Again, we say all the time, we’re professionals — professional coaches, professional players,” said assistant coach Richie Williams, who is replacing Arena. “Even in a time like this, we have to make sure that we show up every day.
“We need to perform well, be professional in our approach, and go out there and play and stick together as a team and as a staff, continue to play well and get results.”
Against Queretaro, the Revolution compensated for absences in rallying for a 1-1 tie. Esmir Bajraktarevic, 18, scored his first goal since signing a first-team contract last year, and the team received boosts in midfield from Gil’s brother, Nacho, and on the back line from Ryan Spaulding, replacing Bye.
“I think that we’ve had injuries throughout the entire year and have found ways to win,” midfielder Matt Polster said. “When you look at that, I don’t think anything changes. This team will continue to adapt.
“When you sell a key player like Djordje, it’s difficult because you don’t want to see your best players go, or your best players be injured. But we have a more-than-capable goalkeeper in Earl, where I think he can step in and get the job done for us.
“With the Bruce thing, no one knows anything, trust me. I think I’ll find out before through Twitter than anywhere else.”
The Revolution, in second place in the Eastern Conference, will play six of their final 11 games on the road. After Montreal, they host the Red Bulls Wednesday and Austin FC Sept. 2.
“We’ve been here before,” Polster said. “Even though we’re in second place, the table is tight, and I think if a few results go one way, you can drop down pretty quickly.
“It’s all about bringing that mind-set that each game is very important. We’re a team that wants to win every game. That’s the mind-set that we have, and we’re going to go to Montreal and try and achieve that.
“Nothing really changes for us as a group. We have the team to go away from home and win games.”
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.