Revolution’s keys to victory against LAFC
The Revolution will stand on the precipice of history when they host Los Angeles FC Saturday night in Foxborough.
With a 4-1 victory over Orlando last week, the Revolution tied a club record with an 11-game unbeaten streak (7-0-4).
While the last three victories have come over opponents not currently in playoff position, the Revolution have beaten contenders Houston, LA Galaxy, and San Jose out of the West. But this weekend’s game presents the Revolution’s biggest challenge thus far.
LAFC (15-3-4) is the top team in MLS, and its 49 points are 10 more than the next-closest team. Even more impressive, LAFC has scored 59 times and has a plus-36 goal differential.
While the Revolution defense has shown signs of improvement, this will be a real proving ground for the back line.
Here’s what the Revolution need to do Saturday:
LAFC striker Carlos Vela has been the best player in MLS this season. With 22 goals and 13 assists in 21 games, he is on pace to set the single-season MLS goal-scoring record.
When Vela is shut down, so is the rest of the team. LAFC is 2-3-1 across all competitions when Vela doesn’t score, including four shutouts.
“We all know that they’re very dangerous up front and have some very talented players,” said New England’s Carles Gil through a translator. “It’s going to be a tough game. They’re the best team in the league.”
The Revolution have scored early goals in each of the last two games but were unable to add any late in the first half. They have put together inspired performances in the second halves for weeks, but the latter portion of the first half has been a dry spot.
On a few occasions against Orlando, the Revolution would have squandered the lead late in the first half had it not been for strong plays by the defense and goalkeeper Matt Turner.
While it’s good to see the Revolution pushing for more goals once they have the lead — unlike in years past — the late-first-half spell has been the one weak part of their game.
Aerial balls, counters
These are the two situations LAFC has struggled to defend the past few weeks.
In a 1-0 loss to Portland during the US Open Cup, the lone goal — a controversial one — came on a counterattack. Against Colorado and the LA Galaxy, LAFC allowed headed goals off crosses into the box.
The Revolution counterattack is strong because of its speed up front, and they have seen headers flying in over recent weeks. New England has been well coached to play to its opponents’ weaknesses, and this Saturday may be no different.
Revolution vs. LAFC
■ When, where: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough.
■ TV, radio: NBCSB, WBZ-FM (98.5).
■ Coaches: Revolution — Bruce Arena; LAFC — Bob Bradley.
Formations: Revolution — 4-2-3-1; LAFC — 4-3-3.
■ Goalkeepers: Revolution — Matt Turner; LAFC — Pablo Sisniega.
■ Referee: Rubiel Vazquez.
■ Out: Revolution — D DeJuan Jones (leg), F Justin Rennicks (loan); LAFC — D Mohamed El-Munir (fractured skull), M Javier Perez (knee), M Alejandro Guido (quad).
■ Miscellany: New England’s Carles Gil has recorded a goal and an assist in each of his last three games — one short of an MLS record set in 2001 by Diego Serna of the Miami Fusion . . . LAFC scored four goals in 12 minutes last week against Atlanta . . . LAFC M Lee Nguyen played for New England from 2012-18, scoring 51 goals, the third-most in club history behind Diego Fagundez and Taylor Twellman.