The Columbus Crew haven’t lost a match since May 21 and are coming off a 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati in the delightful titled Hell is Real Derby. With the arrival of Cucho Hernandez and boasting the likes of Lucas Zelarayan and Derrick Etienne, the Crew have the potential to cause a lot of problems for the New England Revolution.
While Zelarayan is well known by MLS fans for his ability, Cucho might not be on the radar of Revolution fans. The Colombian has dominated since joining MLS and in three matches has four goals to his name.
New England Head Coach and Sporting Director Bruce Arena is expecting a challenge on Saturday.
“Well, they’re a good team,” he said about Columbus on Thursday. “I think they’ve won their last couple of games if I’m not mistaken. Good group of attacking players, good pace on the flanks, good striker, good playmaker, experienced goalkeeper. They’re a good team and playing at home in a new beautiful stadium with a good fan base will make it very challenging.”
Brandon Bye also spoke during the mid-week media availability and talked about how New England has been preparing for the likes of Zelarayan and Hernandez.
“Just watching a little film on them, staying accountable on the field, and watching those guys to make sure we know where they’re at all times,” Bye stated. “That’s something you have to do as defender. And then knowing their tendencies — know what foot they are, where they like to create space and find space in the box, stuff like that. But yeah, we look at that and then we go play the game on the weekend.”
New England’s back line will surely need to be on top of their game. They are coming off a disappointing effort against the Philadelphia Union that saw mistakes gift the game to Philly. A clear push to the back in the box courtesy of Henry Kessler gave the Union a penalty kick which they converted to secure a 2-1 victory.
Arena was asked about how important it is to limit mistakes when going up against attacking threats such as Zelarayan and Hernandez and took some time to focus on his players and what they can do on the field.
“It’s not those particular players, it’s our players and the mistakes we’ve made,” he stated. “It’s well known that we’ve dropped a lot of points by conceding goals at the end of games and a lot of those mistakes have been mental mistakes, technical mistakes, and in a lot of cases, I can’t even say I take my hat off and tip it to the other team, they made a great play. We’ve just made some bad plays, so it’s more mental than anything and if we can get that cleaned up, we can have a good last 14 games of the season.”
New England has dropped 24 points this season in games where they held the lead at one point in the match.
If the Revs are going to win on Saturday they will need a strong performance from their back line. One mistake could be costly and send New England home with no points to their name.