The Revolution had yet another perfect week with wins vs. DC United and FC Cincinnati. This brings their season point total up to 49 points from 22 matches. They have a comfortable lead atop the table and are on pace to set all sorts of records.
9-game unbeaten streak is T-3rd longest in Revs history.
w/ 12 games remaining, Revs only need 11 points and 3 wins to set new club single-season records.
— Adam Klionsky (@AdamKlionsky) August 22, 2021
The Revolution are on a 9 game unbeaten streak, and a lot of the credit goes to the depth Bruce Arena has built up over the past few seasons. Through a myriad of absences to first team players, either by injury or call-up, the Revs haven’t had a true first choice lineup in months. The bench has largely been up to the task. Their last loss came on July 7th, after losing Matt Turner and Tajon Buchanan to the Gold Cup. Since then, however, they’ve managed to sandwich a single draw between two separate four-game win streaks.
They’ve even gotten good minutes from players who hadn’t seen much, or any, of the field this season. This includes first appearances of the season for Damian Rivera and Justin Rennicks, as well as a first start of the season for Ema Boateng and Scott Caldwell. All came against Cincinnati.
With the MLS All Star Game and world cup qualifying on the horizon, that depth will be increasingly important. Can the Revs get through the month with their record-setting dreams intact?
Call-Ups and Injuries Nearing a Peak
Bruce Arena has been very hesitant to provide injury/absence updates about the squad this season. With the information we have we can make reasonable assumptions about player availability over the next stretch of games.
For starters, there has been no news about Carles Gil’s injury since an instagram post was unearthed showing the midfielder rehabbing in Spain a few weeks ago. Assuming he hasn’t returned to the US, he’s very likely to miss at least the next game if not more.
— Seth (@SethMan31) August 11, 2021
Matt Polster has missed the past two games with what Bruce Arena called a “bruise”, but looked on screen to be quite a bit worse.
Brandon Bye has been missing from the past few games with an undisclosed injury.
In addition to these injuries, a busy summer schedule also sees 3 Revs players play midweek in the MLS All Star Game. Tajon Buchanan, Gustavo Bou, and Matt Turner will all be in Los Angeles for the clash against Liga MX this Thursday. Carles Gil would also play in this game, if he were miraculously healthy enough.
Perhaps the largest guarantee of players missing time comes in the form of World Cup qualifiers, which kick off for most countries on September 1st or 2nd. The Revolution haven’t traditionally had to worry too much about international competitions, but this year could be different.
Not all nations have announced their rosters yet, but it is possible that 5 New England starters get called away from the club. Matt Turner and Tajon Buchanan both earned accolades, for the US and Canada respectively, at the Gold Cup and are likely to get the nod for WCQs. Arnór Traustason has been in and out of the lineup with Iceland. Adam Buksa has already received his call up for Poland. Less likely, but not out of the realm of possibility, would be Henry Kessler getting called into the US camp, as he just got his first international minutes in July.
? Adam Buksa
Excited for ? to represent ?? in upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.#NERevs
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) August 16, 2021
The Going Gets Tough
World Cup qualifying matches are played from September 1st-8th and players may leave for training camps before then. The Revolution play three matches between August 28th and September 11th. With training camps, matches, and rest upon return from the international window the Revs could miss players for all three of those games.
Fortunately, it’s against easy competition… right?
It is not. That three-game-stretch is: @ NYCFC, @ PHI, vs NYCFC. New York sits at 4th in the most recent power rankings, with Philly at 10th. Over the past 9 games, the best team New England beat (according to the standings) was Montreal who sit at 11th in the same rankings and 10th place in the league with 1.33 points per game. Five of those nine games came against opposition sitting outside of the playoff picture. NYCFC and Philadelphia are both earning over 1.5 ppg and looking to separate themselves from the pack in a crowded eastern conference.
MLS has a lopsided in-conference schedule this year. Nearly every match is a proverbial “six-pointer”. If the Revolution drop points against New York and Philadelphia, it makes it all the easier for them to challenge New England for the top spot in the east.
The converse is also true. If New England’s can keep the win streak alive, it could all but seal up first place in the conference. The question is, does the Arena’s depth have what it takes? If they do, it could be a record setting season.