The 2021 Eastern Conference winners New England Revolution are back in action on Saturday (7.30pm ET), as they take on the 2020 MLS Cup winners Columbus Crew at Gillette Stadium. Can the hosts make it two wins out of two and leapfrog their visitors in the standings? This MLS game preview with its predictions and picks should hold the answer.
After they ran away with the Eastern Conference last time around, the New England Revolution were expected to come out of the gate fast this season, but that’s not really happened. Bruce Arena’s men have delivered several below-par efforts and are yet to build much momentum. Prior to their recent home win against Major League Soccer newbies, they’d lost four league games on the bounce for the first time since 2017. Fortunately, they have since picked up the pace, winning two out of three, coming out on top in each of their last two at home.
The Crew have also been guilty of slacking this time, with Caleb Porter’s men struggling to put together a consistent run of form. They too lost four on the spin recently, albeit in league and cup, though like the hosts, they have started to get things right over the last couple of weeks. A 0-0 tie against Sporting Kansas City ended their pointless run, while they found their scoring touch last time out, notching three times on their way to beating DC United. Perhaps they have turned a corner.
Hard to beat at home
It’s not been a great start to the campaign from Saturday’s hosts, but one thing they do have going for them is their sturdiness at home. OK, they’ve lost twice at Gillette Stadium this season, but one of those was an untypical end-to-end game in what can only be described as a blizzard. The other defeat was an unfortunate one where luck just wasn’t on their side. In their last two in front of a home crowd, we’ve seen the Revs side that everybody got to know last season, and that’s a team that is hard to beat, a squad that gets the job done, giving little away.
Bruce Arena’s men have conceded only two goals in their last three at home, conceding only five in five at home overall this term. In those last three, they have also kept their opponents quiet in terms of chances created, conceding an average of just 0.6 expected goals. This is where the hosts excel. If a team is struggling to create, then a trip to Gillette Stadium is certainly not what the doctor ordered.
Worries on the road
It’s early days and as touched on in this preview above, perhaps Porter’s men just needed some time to settle in, though the early signs, especially away from home haven’t exactly been positive. The Crew arrive here with no wins from four traveling fixtures, and while they’ve only lost one of those four, showing a degree of toughness, they’ve not exactly impressed.
They have failed to score in two out of four, producing modest (at best) xG totals of 0.8 and 1.0 in their last two. Such figures do not bode well ahead of a trip to Massachusetts.
Revs vs Crew: Recent head-to-head record
The Revs and the Crew have few secrets from each other after meeting three times last season. In truth, there was little between the two during 2021, as they played out a couple of stalemates, tying 1-1 at this venue, a game that came after a 2-2 draw in Columbus.
Prior to those ties, the Revs won by a goal to nil in front of a home crowd, so it is Saturday’s hosts who can say they have the slightly better recent record in this fixture. Interestingly, none of the last five renewals have been won by the away team. What is also interesting is the lack of goals in this fixture in recent years, with only one of the last seven renewals containing more than two goals. Both teams have scored in just two of those seven.
Home win on the cards
This is a big opportunity for the New England Revolution to continue moving in the right direction, and it’s also an opportunity for bettors to support a home win at reasonable betting odds with the stateside online sportsbooks. Sure, we know that neither side has been great this term, and we know that both have done a little better in recent weeks, but the home efforts of Arena’s men really do dwarf the visiting efforts of the Crew, so much so that odds of -105 are worth taking advantage of.
The hosts come here off the back of consecutive home wins, scoring four and conceding just one, while the visitors have lost one and tied one of their last two on the road, scoring no goals. They also measure up somewhat poorly in terms of expected goals, which is always a worry.
Porter’s men have produced just 1.8 expected goals in their last two games on the road, while the Revs have created 3.0 during that time. More importantly, the hosts arrive having surrendered just 0.9 expected goals in their last two at home, while the visitors have shipped 2.1. Such numbers add to the appeal of a home win.
Buksa to bag
If you’re more interested in player props, or want something additional, then support Adam Buksa to find the net. The Polish forward has really stepped up in the absence of Gustavo Bou, scoring three goals in six starts this season, netting in each of his last three.
We’re talking about a forward whose tail is up, who is in fine scoring form and who is making a habit of getting plenty of shots off. Buksa currently averages 4.05 shots per 90 minutes, so it’s little wonder that he’s scoring with regularity. These are the betting picks and predictions for this Revs vs Crew MLS matchup preview: