New England Revolution vs. Orlando City Prediction, Preview & Odds - 9/25/21
Orlando City SC plays host to the New England Revolution on Saturday night from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, in a crucial Eastern Conference matchup. The two teams have yet to meet this season and only met once in 2020, with the Revolution coming away with a 3-1 win in that one. Over the course of the last five meetings, dating back to 2019, each team has won twice, with one draw. The Revolution has already clinched a playoff spot and is running away with not only the Eastern Conference regular-season title but with the league as a whole. They come in 21 points ahead of Orlando in the table, and even though they have played two more games, that’s still a massive gap. While it appears nobody is going to catch the Revolution atop the Eastern Conference, Orlando is within a close group of teams fighting for the final playoff positions. Saturday promises to be a great game of MLS action with this matchup in Orlando potentially being the highlight of the slate. Either way, the Eastern Conference standings could look different by the time Saturday’s game is over.
It’s safe to say that the New England Revolution has the best team in MLS and while it remains to be seen if they can come away with the MLS Cup title, they will almost certainly finish with the best regular-season record in the league. Through 27 games, New England sits on 59 points and a plus-nineteen goal differential. The 59 points are tops in the league by 13 points and tops in the Eastern Conference by 15 points, while the goal differential is second best in MLS. New England is also on a run of four straight games without a loss, having won three of those, and in their last 14 games, they’ve only lost once. They’re certainly setting themselves up to have their confidence and momentum peaking as the playoffs begin but also know how smart they need to be regarding roster usage. With the top-seed in the playoffs secured, it’ll be interesting to see if they aim for a clean bill of health or players peaking at the right time, for when the playoffs take off.
One reason for New England’s success this year has been its ability to stay healthy. Unfortunately though, according to the league’s availability report, they have six players questionable to play on Saturday. The good news is that they don’t have anyone out, but potentially having six players for the road game could seriously impact their depth. Carles Gil (muscular), Maciel (undisclosed), Jon Bell (undisclosed), Gustavo Bou (undisclosed), Edward Kizza (undisclosed), and Emmanuel Boateng (undisclosed) are all questionable for the Orlando matchup and even just one or two giving it a go could be massive. Bou leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and has added four assists as well and is probably the biggest miss if he’s unable to play. Gil and Boateng have combined for five goals between the two of them and the offense could take a hit. New England will be in a world of trouble if all three of those players end up out but it’ll be time for the next player to step up in the absence.
While Bou leads the way with 12 goals, he is far from the only threat that New England can rely on when they take to the road on Saturday. Adam Buska has added eleven goals and Tajon Buchanan, the Canadian international, had added another seven. Gil has a team-high 12 assists and his creativity will be missed in the midfield if he’s unable to go. The good news is that the Revolution has one of the best defenses in MLS, so even if the offense sputters, they still shouldn’t give up much defensively. Matt Turner is has cemented himself as the best keeper in the league and a World Cup qualifying roster member. Add in a backline with Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, and AJ DeLaGarza, and this might be one of the most feared defenses this season. Expect the final injury report to really dictate New England’s style of play but if they even have one of two offensive members named active, scoring and coming away with three points on the road shouldn’t be an issue.
Orlando Eyeing Home Field Advantage
Orlando remains right in the thick of things for the playoff race that is quickly approaching this fall. With the top seven teams in each conference making the postseason, Orlando feels good about their current position in fourth, sitting just one point behind NYCFC in third. The issue is that everyone in the Eastern Conference is bundled together. Between themselves and the eighth-place team, only four points separate them. Getting points in an efficient manner is all that matters to the Orlando faithful at this point of the season and being home puts the pressure on even more for them to deliver. Orlando seemed in great positioning just a few weeks ago but has lost three straight matches. As if three straight losses weren’t bad enough, they all came to teams below Orlando City in the standings as well. Now that they welcome the best team in the league to town, they hope that their poor run of play has passed. The form is so important in soccer and a fourth straight loss could easily send them into a tailspin towards obscurity.
Just as New England is navigating quite a bit on the injury front, so is Orlando City SC. Orlando already knows that they’ll definitely be without Alexandre Pato (lower body), Mason Stajduhar (surgical recovery), and Joey DeZart (lower body). As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, they also have Sebastian Mendez (lower body), Chris Mueller (lower body), and Uri Rosell(lower body) all list as questionable. Mueller’s two goals and four assists would be missed if he can’t go. DeZart has also played in 16 games this season and has been steady in the back. Their injuries might be more from a volume standpoint than New England’s but New England seems likely to miss more instant impact performers.
Nani’s career seems to have no end in sight as he continues to be a force in the league. He leads Orlando City with nine goals and leads with another seven assists and his health is imperative to Orlando City’s success. Another player to keep an eye on is Daryl Dike, the forward who has three goals in only nine games. Having spent the spring in England, his composure on the ball and the speed of play that he’s become accustomed to has helped him be a force in the league in just a short stint. New England hasn’t seen a forward like him this season and the combination between himself and Nani could be a dangerous one on Saturday night. The defense is more of a concern, especially with the injuries that have forced them to juggle their backline all season. With their ability to score goals though, a strong offensive showing will allow the defense a night from having to be perfect.
Pick: Revolution (-250)
There’s a reason why the New England Revolution has had one of the most dominant seasons in recent MLS history and considering their form coming into Saturday, there’s little doubt that they’ll be the team better positioned for all three points. The injury list is a slight concern but the expectation is that one or two of the main offensive creators from that list will still be able to get out there on Saturday. Add in that New England has the best defense in the league and Orlando City will be hard-pressed to get anything going offensively, even with Nani and Dike healthy and ready to go. Orlando City is in a poor run of form currently and until that get’s straightened out, it’s difficult to back them to win a game against the best team in the league. Expect the Revolution to roll to a road win and keep up their dominant ways.
For as strong as New England has played this season defensively, there still always seems to be goals when these two teams meet. In four of the last five meetings, at least four goals have been scored, with three goals being scored in the fifth one. New England also saw five goals scored their last time out and with their depth at attacking positions, shouldn’t have any issues finding the back of the net. For Orlando, at least four goals have been scored in three of the last four games they’ve played overall and that trend of high-scoring games seems like it’ll continue into Saturday night.