MLS: Defensive-minded Revolution to face busy LAFC

Bruce Arena, the former United States Men’s National Team manager and the all-time MLS wins leader, takes his New England Revolution side to visit defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles FC in a Sunday night clash.

With New England (2-0-0, 6 points) in a potential bounce-back year and LAFC (1-0-0, 3-points) managing CONCACAF Champions League commitments, even the veteran manager isn’t sure what to expect.

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“I really don’t know how the game is going to look,” Arena said Friday. “(LAFC) played the same lineup in their last two games, so I would anticipate there’s going to be some changes. Perhaps they’ll look a little different. But I would agree it’s going to be an open, exciting, attacking kind of game.”

That would match the style of Arena’s teams at D.C. United, New York Red Bulls, Los Angeles Galaxy and now New England. But the 2023 Revolution also have been stout defensively, earning a 1-0 win at Charlotte to open the season and a 3-0 home victory against Houston.

Four different players have scored to help the Revs absorb the absence of striker Gustavo Bou, who has 37 goals in four MLS seasons.

Bou has yet to play in 2023, but Arena said he will make his season debut at Los Angeles. He had to remain in Argentina for most of the preseason while awaiting his green card processing.

LAFC boss Steve Cherundolo faces a big decision three days after his side began their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 victory at Alajuelense of Costa Rica.

Denis Bouanga scored a hat trick and played the full 90 minutes in the victory, which followed a 3-2 win over the Portland Timbers in their MLS season opener.

The Black & Gold will play the second leg of their first-round series against Alajuelense at home Wednesday. With the series decided by total goals, Cherundolo could view his team as already having one foot in the quarterfinals, or he could make some lineup changes for Sunday’s game with an eye toward Wednesday.

The Revolution will just have to wait and see.

“We are at the beginning of our season and our starters still need valuable minutes for their fitness, so we will field a similar team,” Cherundolo said. “It may not be the exact same team, but it will be similar.”

–Field Level Media

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