New England Revolution may be the runaway leaders in Supporters’ Shield standings, but Miguel Berry insists Columbus Crew have what it takes to win Saturday’s contest.
The Revs have amassed 55 points from their first 25 regular-season matches and look destined to finish top of the overall table for the first time ever.
Only Nashville SC and New York City FC have taken points off New England since mid-July, but Crew midfielder Berry is confident his side can add their name to that list.
“We have to keep fighting and we have to keep fighting hard,” he said after his side’s 2-1 win over New York Red Bulls in midweek.
“New England are an incredible team with fifty-something points. They’re playing incredibly well, but we can beat that team.
“The way we are playing at home, we can beat that team. I think we need to come, work hard for 90 minutes, leave it all out there and win. A tie is a good result but we want to win.”
The Crew travel to Gillette Stadium without a point in their last five road games, whereas the Revs have won four on the spin in front of their own supporters.
Bruce Arena’s side were not exactly at their best in Saturday’s 2-1 win over New York City, however, a game they trailed before battling back to take all three points.
“We got out of there with three points,” Arena said following that comeback win. “It was an even game between two good teams.
“We had chances to make the game a little easier on ourselves with a third goal. We never got that, so it was a nail-biter right to the end. But I think we deserved the three points.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New England Revolution – Tajon Buchanan
Buchanan was brought on with an hour played against New York City and was on the scoresheet four minutes later with what proved to be the winning goal. The Canada international now has seven goals for the season and has netted in four straight league appearances, which should earn him a recall to the starting line-up here.
Columbus Crew – Miguel Berry
Berry said he took inspiration from Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski with his late strike against the Red Bulls, which completed a 2-1 turnaround win for his side. While the 23-year-old may not be as prolific as Lewandowski – who is? – he now has five goals in MLS this season, which is the second most of any Crew player.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– New England is unbeaten in two matches against the Crew this season (W1 D1), including a 1-0 home win on May 16. The Revs had avoided defeat just twice in their previous nine matches against the Crew dating back to August 2016 (W1 D1 L7, including playoffs).
– The Revolution’s 2-1 win over New York City FC on Saturday was their 14th victory by a one-goal margin in 2021, a new single-season MLS record, breaking the mark of 13 that was held by four teams, most recently Colorado in 2016.
– The Crew have lost five straight away matches, being outscored, 10-3, in those games. Columbus has won just two of its 23 away matches since the start of last season (D8 L13).
– New England’s 55 points through 25 matches are tied for the second-most at this stage of an MLS season with the LA Galaxy in 1998. Only Los Angeles FC in 2019 had more points at this stage of a season (58).
– Miguel Berry’s winning goal against the Red Bulls on Tuesday was his fourth goal as a substitute this season, tied with Ramon Abila for the most goals by a sub in MLS in 2021.