Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
When: Saturday, August 2, 4:30 PM PT
How to Watch: YouTube TV, KMVD in Los Angeles viewing area; ESPN+ in the rest of the United States.
Los Angeles Football Club, fresh off the MLS All-Star Break, return to action in league play against the New England Revolution, who have become one of the hottest teams in the league since hiring Bruce Arena. Before the All-Star Game, both sides won their previous matches: LAFC won in a barn-burner at home, 4-3 over Atlanta United, while New England decimated Orlando City 4-1 at home.
Since firing Brad Friedel and bringing Arena into the organization, as sporting director and head coach, New England have gone unbeaten in 11 matches. When Arena was appointed in May, New England was one of the worst teams in the league, with just two wins and a -19 goal differential. Since then, they have won seven matches and drawn four, with a +14 goal differential. Not only that, but they signed Gustavo Bou from Club Tijuana in mid-July. Bou has quickly established himself as a top-class player in MLS, one who makes everyone around him better and who could slide into most if not all other starting XI’s in the league. Players who looked finished and direction-less have been entirely reborn under Arena, and New England is now a playoff contender in the East.
The Revs, after bouncing back from their shocking start to the season, currently sit in 7th in the East, right above the playoff line, with 33 points: the same as 6th place Montreal Impact, and three below 2nd place Atlanta United(!). LAFC still sit atop the West with 49 points, 11 above the Seattle Sounders.
LAFC might not be so pleased this match is on the road, as they have seven wins and three draws away from home, as well as both of their losses on the season in MLS play. New England, meanwhile, have six wins, two draws, and four losses at home (the losses coming in that early part of the season, and the wins mostly coming recently).
This will be the first time LAFC have played at Gillette Stadium. The sides have met just once before, which was a 1-1 draw at Banc of California Stadium last year, thanks to goals from Marco Urena and Brandon Bye.
Prediction: New England 2, LAFC 2. This game feels like it has “road draw” written all over it. New England are playing at that high of a level and are an entirely different team from the one in the first 12 games of the season. Bou is a monster, and Arena has completely changed the team from rubbish to real. Add that to playing in Gillette, on turf, and a bit of fatigue from the All Star Game in mid-week, I think LAFC will perform just fine, but come away with just a point.
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