New England Revolution coach Bruce Arena hopes Gustavo Bou’s form will help his side extend their six-match unbeaten MLS run, as he highlighted the strength in depth he now boasts in attack.
Bou netted the Revs’ opener in a 2-1 win over Sporting KC last time out, as Arena’s in-form team moved to eighth in the Eastern Conference standings.
New England are aiming to record three consecutive wins for the first time since September when they host Orlando City, and Arena says Bou’s return to form gives him a plethora of offensive options.
“He’s getting himself back in form, I thought he did well (against Sporting KC), a very good goal, it’s good to have Gustavo back,” Arena said.
“I thought Jozy (Altidore ) came back and played well also, so we have some options up front, for sure.
“Let’s get some games under our belts, we’re not going to reinvent ourselves, but we’re going to play to our strengths.”
Orlando, meanwhile, have failed to win any of their last seven matches against New England, and while they sit two points above their hosts in the standings, approach the game off the back of a 3-1 loss to FC Dallas.
Oscar Pareja’s team squandered a one-goal lead in that demoralizing defeat, and the Orlando head coach knows their defending must improve going forward.
“Until (Dallas) scored the first goal, I thought we had a very good game and then a lack of concentration in a couple of plays,” he said of the Lions’ last outing.
“On the first goal, we had the ball and then we gave it away, that equalizer hurt us and then our reaction was not right, then we conceded a (third) goal as well.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New England Revolution – Gustavo Bou
Bou scored the opening goal in New England’s 2-1 win at Kansas City last Sunday. The Revs have now lost only one of the 30 MLS matches in which Bou has found the net (W19 D10), and will be hoping their lucky charm will strike again against Orlando.
Orlando City SC – Ercan Kara
The Austrian’s five goals this season make him the Lions’ leading goalscorer, and after finding the net in Orlando’s defeat to Dallas last time out, Kara will be keen to provide a goal threat once more.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– New England have only lost two of their 14 all-time MLS matches against Orlando City (W6 D6), including going unbeaten in the last seven (W4 D3, including playoffs).
– That seven-game run is the longest active streak without a win for Orlando City against any MLS team.
– The Revolution are unbeaten in six straight matches (W3 D3) following a 2-1 win at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. New England have not put together consecutive victories in MLS play since a three-match run in late September 2021.
– Orlando City have lost only one of their seven away matches this season (W3 D3), a 4-1 defeat in Montreal in early May. Orlando’s 12 points through seven away games are the most the team has ever had at this stage of a season.
– While Orlando City have outscored opponents 10-5 in the first half of matches this season, they have been outscored 15-7 after half-time. Much of that damage has been done in the final 15 minutes, when the Lions have been outscored 7-1 in 2022.