The New England Revolution are delighted to have talisman Carles Gil back for Tuesday’s game at the Houston Dynamo as they enter “crunch time” in their playoff bid.
The Revs were without Gil at the weekend as they lost 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls, a result that team-mate Tommy McNamara said left “a bad taste in our mouths.”
New England are eighth in the Eastern Conference heading into the midweek MLS fixtures, three points and one place outside the playoff positions.
For that reason, McNamara explains the Revs simply must deliver.
“We need to win the game,” he said. “That’s been the message since the game ended against Red Bull the other evening. That’s the mindset we have going into it.
“It’s crunch time now. It has been, and we’ve been in this state that we’ve been in over the last couple of weeks, where we need to pick up results and we need to win games.
“We just need to have a committed effort from all 11 guys on the field, from the players who come on off the bench, to try to do everything we can to get three points here.”
The Revs will be boosted by the involvement of Gil, who missed the Red Bulls game as his wife gave birth to their son.
“We’re happy to have him back,” McNamara added. “He’s our captain, he’s carried this team for a number of years since I’ve been here, and he’s one of, if not the best player in the league.
“It makes obviously a huge difference in the group when he’s available, so we’re happy to have him back.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Houston Dynamo – Sebastian Ferreira
The Dynamo have struggled for goals of late, but Ferreira has 10 for the season and is the most likely candidate to come up with a precious winner in this game.
New England Revolution – Carles Gil
Gil got the big sell from McNamara, but understandably so. He has 13 assists this season after 18 last year, backing up his reputation as one of the most prolific creators in MLS.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– New England have won six of their last seven matches against Houston (D1), last losing in March 2014. The Revs have scored at least twice in all seven of those games, one of two times in the club’s MLS history Houston have conceded multiple goals in seven straight games against a single foe (Minnesota – 2020-present).
– The Dynamo ended a run of 13 straight matches conceding a goal with a scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. Houston have not managed to keep clean sheets in consecutive matches in over four years, since doing so in July 2018 against Minnesota and Colorado.
– New England have dropped an MLS-high 29 points from winning positions following a 2-1 defeat to the Red Bulls on Saturday. The Revs have now dropped as many points from ahead this season (29 – W9 D7 L5) as they did in all 34 matches last season (W22 D7 L5).
– Houston are the most cautioned team in MLS, collecting 81 yellow cards this season despite committing just 11.3 fouls per match, eighth-fewest in the league. The MLS record for yellow cards in a single season is 90, set by Colorado in 2018.
– New England attempted just four shots in their loss to the Red Bulls on Saturday, their fewest since taking four shots against Chicago in May 2019, just before Bruce Arena took over. In fact, an Arena team have taken fewer shots in an MLS match just once since 2011: Galaxy’s one shot vs. Kansas City in 2016.