New England Revolution coach Bruce Arena has defended his use of tactics in the loss to Nashville SC and is eager to switch attention to the trip to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.
The Revs fell to a 2-0 loss at the Nissan Stadium last week to see their unbeaten start to the 2021 MLS campaign come to an end.
Despite the success of the 4-2-3-1 system used in the win over Atlanta United, Arena opted for a 4-4-2 against Nashville - a move that ultimately backfired.
However, the veteran coach insists his side's slow start last time out was not down to formation, with focus now turning to the midweek showdown with Supporters' Shield holders Philadelphia.
"If we're not playing well, the formation doesn't matter," Arena said. "Over time, we'll see what's the best formation for our team.
"But the issues in the first 30 minutes of the game against Nashville had nothing to do with our formation, it had to do with our play. We've just got to move forward."
The Union were 2-0 winners over Chicago Fire in their most recent match, picking up maximum points at the fourth time of asking this season.
Jim Curtin's men have had to balance domestic matters with a run to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League, where Mexican giants Club America await in a two-legged tie.
Philadelphia have ground to make up in the league before then, however, and Curtin's full focus is on the upcoming clash with New England at a packed Subaru Park.
"Focus switches back to the league. We've had some good performances that haven't led to the results we wanted, but that is something we are changing," he said.
"It is a busy stretch ahead, with nine games in the space of about a month. We've had players step up and play a lot of minutes. We've just got to get ready as best as possible."
Philadelphia Union - Cory Burke
Jamaica international Burke was brought back into the Union's starting line-up against Chicago and rewarded Curtin with the opening goal shortly after half-time.
With Kacper Przybylko struggling for goals, Burke is one of those who will need to step up as he looks to better his career-best tally of 11 MLS goals in 2018.
New England Revolution - Adam Buksa
Arena went with two strikers up top against Nashville, but will he be tempted to revert back to a 4-2-3-1 here? If so, that may mean Adam Buksa leading the line on his own.
The 24-year-old scored on his first appearance of the season, though he has since gone three games without a goal and could do with putting that right if selected against the Union.
- The Revs knocked the Supporters' Shield winning Union out of the MLS Cup Playoffs with a 2-0 win in the Conference Semifinals last season after Philadelphia had recorded four wins and a draw against the Revs during the season (including MLS is Back). That victory was New England's first in Philadelphia since August 2015 after losing their previous seven games at Subaru Park.
- Including last season's playoffs defeat to the Revs, Philadelphia have lost three straight home matches after losing just two of their previous 26 at Subaru Park (W20 D4) dating back to March 2019. The Union are on their second three-match home losing streak in the club's MLS history after doing so in April-June 2012.
- New England suffered their first defeat of the season in a 2-0 loss at Nashville on Saturday. The Revolution have not lost consecutive regular season matches in a single season under Arena, last doing so in May 2019.
- Kacper Przybylko has scored just once in his last 16 appearance (including playoffs), a penalty against the Fire in October 2020. He had scored six goals in his previous six matches prior to this drought.
- Alex Muyl's goal for Nashville against the Revs on Saturday was just the second goal scored from outside the box against New England since the beginning March 2020. The other was scored by the Union's Anthony Fontana on September 12.
Updated May 11, 2021