MLS: Surging Revolution out to continue playoff push vs. Sounders

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Giacomo Vrioni’s season didn’t get off to the best start. The same could be said of the New England Revolution.

But both are looking up as the Revs travel to Seattle for an MLS match Saturday night.

Vrioni, who received a red card 25 minutes into the season opener, tallied twice Wednesday as New England (7-11-1) defeated visiting Atlanta United 2-1 to improve to 5-1-0 over its past six MLS matches after a 2-10-1 start.

“He is becoming a warrior in the air and being strong and battling guys,” Revolution coach Caleb Porter said of Vrioni, who broke a tie with the injured Carles Gil for the team lead in goals Wednesday. “I watched him last year on film, he’d fall to the ground and he wasn’t using his body right … now he looks strong. The other thing he’s improved on is just his mentality. He’s becoming a goal scorer.”

The victory against Atlanta pulled the Revs within two points of the Five Stripes in the race for the Eastern Conference’s ninth and final playoff berth.

The Sounders (7-7-7, 28 points) occupy the ninth spot in the West. They rallied for a 2-1 victory against the visiting Chicago Fire on Saturday as Albert Rusnak converted a pair of penalty kicks.

The Sounders, who, similar to New England, got off to a slow start this season, are 3-0-1 in their past four matches — overcoming deficits in the past three.

“At halftime, we were a lot calmer than previous games because when you’ve done something, you have a lot of confidence that you can do it again,” Rusnak said.

Sounders midfielder Pedro de la Vega subbed in during the 76th minute against Chicago, marking his first appearance since May.

“We’re going to extend his minutes, if we can,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “The game is going to dictate it. If we’re holding on to a 1-0 lead and it’s a little more of a defensive struggle, I might not put him on right away. But I’m going to try to build his minutes so he can progress into being evaluated for a start.”

This will be the first matchup between the clubs since a 3-3 draw Aug. 10, 2019, in Seattle. New England holds a 5-4-5 edge in the all-time series.

–Field Level Media

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