New England Revolution

Preview: New England Revolution know not to overlook Inter Miami CF

Stew Milne
Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton earned a 1-0 shutout last Saturday in Atlanta.


The Eastern Conference-leading Revolution enter Wednesday night’s match against host Inter Miami CF (7:30, Ch. 38) with experience of what can happen when you start slowly against a last-place team.

Just two weeks ago, the Revolution hosted then-last-place Toronto FC and started flat, allowing three goals in the first 24 minutes of a 3-2 loss.

New England faces a similar situation against a reeling Inter Miami that has dropped five straight matches to fall behind Toronto for last in the East. The Revolution know they have to be focused from the opening kickoff.

“There isn’t an easy game in MLS,” midfielder Matt Polster said Monday. “You know that as a team, and we know if we’re not playing at our best, we could struggle to win games. So for us, we need to be focused from the first minute to the last minute to win this game. Miami is a good team. I think their record doesn’t really show what they’re capable of, so we have to come out really strong and show what we’re about.”

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After allowing 11 goals in its last five matches, the Revolution (8-3-3) returned to form last Saturday, holding Atlanta to five shots on net in a 1-0 win. Atlanta fired coach Gabriel Heinze following the defeat.

Brad Knighton, who was making his second straight start in net for Matt Turner (Gold Cup), recorded his first clean sheet since Oct. 13, 2018, and appears to be gaining confidence.

The Revolution backline was also stellar, anchored by center backs Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell, and right back Brandon Bye.

“It was a big-time performance from us at Atlanta,” said Bye. “Coming away with the shutout and the win, obviously, is the most important thing. We look to build on this and to continue to be strong in the back and not give up goals. That’s our goal.”

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Inter Miami (2-7-2) will play for the first time since July 3 after its match last Saturday at the New York Red Bulls was postponed because of inclement weather. Miami has dealt with injuries to key attackers Gonzalo Higuain (fitness), Rodolfo Pizarro (hip), and Robbie Robinson (hamstring), but all three are slated to return for Wednesday’s match.

Miami also signed three international players as reinforcements over the past few weeks, including Dutch goalkeeper Nick Marsman, who is expected to start.

Although Miami has scored a league-low nine goals and just one during its five-game skid, Revolution coach Bruce Arena is expecting a difficult match.

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“They are a team that needs 3 points,” said Arena. “They have good players. They brought in some new players that they’ll be playing in the game, and we expect them to be a handful. We know some of the results haven’t gone their way as of late, so we expect to see a team that comes at us real hard and it’s going to be difficult game.”

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