Major League Soccer will return on July 8 with a 34-day tournament in Orlando, FL. Beyond the obvious fact that we’ll be watching live domestic soccer, here are three reasons why I’m excited for the summer showcase.
1. 9 am games
We’re going to be treated to games at 9 am, 8 pm, and 10:30 pm EDT. While the timing of the nightcap will be tough, I can certainly get on board with watching MLS while eating my breakfast. The idea of starting and ending my day with soccer is something I look forward to.
2. The five sub rule
For this tournament, clubs will have a maximum of three opportunities to make up to five substitutions. This is a necessary change since teams only have a month to prepare for a schedule that requires a game in hot conditions every four or five days.
The adjustment will likely lead to teams approaching this tournament differently. Will we see more pressing? Will we see formation changes? Will we see new faces?
The last question is particularly interesting because the New England Revolution have a host of young players. Justin Rennicks, Tajon Buchanan, Damian Rivera, Isaac Angking and Nicolas Firmino are all hoping to have their names called.
3. We finally get to see what the Revs can do
The Revolution we saw at the beginning of the season isn’t the real Revolution because Carles Gil wasn’t available. Gil’s return means that Gustavo Bou won’t have to be the playmaker and can instead focus on being the roaming finisher that we saw during his first season. Adam Buksa will also benefit as he’s surely delighted about the prospect of getting on the end of a Gil through ball or cross.
Meanwhile, the back line will boosted by the availability of Alex Buttner and Antonio Delamea. That said, incumbents DeJuan Jones and Henry Kessler have made strong cases to keep their spots. The competition will force everyone to stay sharp.
Are the 2020 Revs good? Maybe. Are they better than what we saw in the first two games? I think so.