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Three keys to three points: New England Revolution host Vancouver Whitecaps

How the Revs can continue their dominance over Western Conference teams, and extend their unbeaten streak

The New England Revolution will look to extend their MLS best eight-game unbeaten streak (4-0-4) when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are winless in their last six league games (0-3-3).

This current incarnation of the Revolution have a solid 3-0-2 record at home during their unbeaten run and are looking to feast on a Vancouver side that have managed just one win in ten attempts on the road. The teams played to a 3-3 draw last season in Vancouver, and the Revs topped the Caps 1-0 in 2017, when the two teams last met in Foxborough. The Revs will be without Wilfried Zahibo, who is serving his suspension after receiving a second, costly, yellow card against DC United last week. The Whitecaps will be without defender Ali Adnan who is also serving a suspension, his for yellow card accumulation.

Here are my three keys to three points for the Revs:

  • Incorporate Gustavo Bou - The fanbase has been buzzing with excitement over the Revs new Argentine forward. “La Pantera” is now eligible to play as his P-1 Visa was finalized, and as noted by Arena “We brought (Bou) here to play, not to sit in the stands,” so I expect to see him make his MLS debut, and it would be in the best interest of the team to try to get him incorporated quickly, especially in a game that the Revs should win.
  • Play smart - The Revs have been issued five red cards this season (two came in the 4/27 draw against SKC), and are 0-1-3 in those games. In three of the four games (one vs SKC and two against DC United) the Revs were ahead and looking poised to come away with victories, only to eventually settle for draws. Without the costly mistakes the Revs could very well be sitting at 30 points and tied for third place in the East. If the Revs can keep their composure and play with their full squad to the final whistle, they should fare well against Vancouver.
  • Strong second half - I mentioned this in my keys last week, and it’s been well discussed by others in the last week or so that the Revs have struggled to close out halves of play. That will be another key this week, and every week until the Revs show that they can finish strong, or until they start scoring so many goals that it becomes a moot point. A deeper dive into some second half numbers show that in the 76-90th minutes the Revs have allowed 16 goals, while only scoring one themselves, while the final 15 minutes of play have been the most successful for Vancouver, having scored seven of their 22 points in the closing minutes of games. Also of note here, the Whitecaps have conceded 21 of their 34 goals allowed in the second half of play, so look for the Revs to come out strong in the second half and put this game away. One would think that Bruce Arena should have the tactical advantage over first year MLS coach Marc Dos Santos, so the Revs should be able to find weaknesses and exploit them coming out of the the intermission.

How to Watch

Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA)

TV: NBC Sports Boston

English Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Portuguese Radio: 1260 AM “Nossa Radio USA”