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New England Revolution vs. LAFC: Three Questions

How are things going for LAFC’s next opponent?

MLS: Orlando City SC at New England Revolution
Gil has been a key addition for New England.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club are back in action on Saturday, when they play the New England Revolution for the first time in New England. To get us ready for the game, we called upon our old friend Jake Catanese of SB Nation’s Revolution website The Bent Musket to find out what’s up with the Revs. Many thanks to Jake for taking the time to answer my questions!

Angels on Parade asks The Bent Musket:

1. Put simply, this season has been a rollercoaster ride for the Revolution. Take us through the journey so far.

Well the journey begins as it usually does with the Revs taking literal years off the lives of their hardcore fans but that is a usual occurrence most years in New England. The first few months of the year went from mostly bad to historically awful when the Revs lost back-to-back games by five goals and gave up a league record 15 goals over three games. The end of the Brad Friedel era sucked the energy out of just about everyone from the fans to the players on the field. It was a necessary end to a tenure that seemed to start out with a lot of promise in 2018.

The immediate change from the departure of Friedel as to how the Revs have played on the field is nothing short of amazing and just another strange chapter of New England soccer lore. Bruce Arena has come in and seemingly hit every right button when it comes to lineup decisions. From Andrew Farrell shifting back inside to center back to Juan Agudelo excelling as a true No. 8 center midfielder and the sudden depth of attacking options up top, Bruce Arena has perhaps pulled off his quickest turnaround job with a new team in the league. And that’s a pretty impressive list a teams Arena has quickly pulled back into the playoffs in MLS.

2. New England have two intriguing newcomers in Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou. How are they doing and where do they rank in the top players around MLS?

Carles Gil would have been a legitimate All-Star if he played for any other team in the league and especially after the impressive numbers he put up in July. Gil became just the 9th player in league history and second player this year to record three straight games with a goal and an assist. Some guy named Carlos Vela also did it this year as well as Lee Nguyen back in 2016 with the Revs. Despite everyone on the Revs struggling in April, Gil has posted solid numbers and should reach double digits in goals and assists and Gil should be considered one of the top playmakers in the league, but since he plays in New England he’ll probably remain overlooked and underrated.

Gustavo Bou certainly looks the part after his debut rocket goal against Vancouver off a well-worked corner routine with Carles Gil. The Revs have often done scoring by committee the last few years and while Bou certainly looks like someone who could shoulder more of the offensive scoring load, I still expect the Revs to have a balanced attack. Still, Bruce Arena was able to very quickly identify Bou and transfer him into the squad for a large fee, both of which are unheard of in New England. I think we might have to wait until next year to see if Bou is going to be an elite scorer in the league, but between Gil and Bou who both seem capable of double-digit goals over a season, it’s a pretty nice combo to build around.

3. What are the goals for this season for the Revs?

Two months ago I would have said prepare for 2020 and just stabilize the team that Arena inherited and make changes over the summer and offseason windows. It was entirely possible that an entire roster overhaul was needed though I never thought the Revs were as bad as they seemed at the end of the Friedel era.

Instead, Arena has the Revs currently on the edge of the playoffs. Given the hole the Revs were in, that is a tremendous accomplishment on its own. At the beginning of the year, modest expectations were that the Revs could be a low seeded playoff team in the East. Well that’s where the Revs are now and they’re improving as the year goes on. I still think it would be an outside shot for the Revs to host a playoff game this year, but I also didn’t think they would rattle off 11 straight games without a loss. Regardless, it’s hard to not view 2019 as a success at this point and with an upcoming difficult stretch in the schedule even if the Revs cool off, we’ve seen the potential that Bruce Arena has with this team and that’s enough for this season.

4. (Bonus) Prediction for Saturday’s game?

I’m going to temper my expectations for this game since I think LAFC are ridiculously good. But I think the Arena-Bradley coaching matchup is going to be awesome and I think a fantastic 2-2 draw with at least one world class goal apiece for each team.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!