Revolution-Inter Miami CF Preview
Inter Miami may be bottom of the Eastern Conference, but that only adds to Bruce Arena's belief they will come at the New England Revolution "real hard."
Phil Neville's Inter are in action for the first time in over two weeks as they host the Revs in desperate need of a result.
Although Miami have two games in hand over most teams in the East, they have lost five straight games and now face the team top of the table.
The standings perhaps do not tell the full story, though, Arena says.
"Miami will play real hard, they're a team that needs three points," he said. "They have good players and they've brought in some new players that they'll be playing.
"We expect them to be a handful. We know some of the results haven't gone their way, so we expect a team that's going to come at us real hard."
Arena added Inter will "feel strongly that if they if they have a good second half of the season they can qualify for the playoffs."
"And anything can happen," he added.
Arena certainly backs Neville, explaining: "Phil and I had some communication early in the year in preseason.
"I've known Phil for a number of years. Our wives have met. Phil's a great guy. I'm very impressed with the work he's done with England, and taking an expansion team is not easy. It's challenging."
But Miami could be hindered by the absence of Rodolfo Pizarro, who was praised effusively by Neville on Tuesday but has been called up by Mexico.
Inter Miami - Jay Chapman
With Pizarro expected to be unavailable, Chapman is likely to continue in his role behind the striker. Given the praise for the Mexico international, though, Chapman must surely now improve on his 2021 tally of zero goals and one assist. He did not have a single goal involvement in 2020.
New England Revolution - Carles Gil
Chapman need not look far for an example of a game-changing number 10. Gil has 10 assists already this season, with no other player in the entire league managing more than six. After missing most of last year with injury, he is back on song.
- This will be the first ever meeting between Inter Miami and New England. The Revs have never won in Miami, losing four times and drawing four (including two breakaway shoot-out losses) in eight matches at the Fusion from 1998 to 2001.
- Inter Miami have tied a club record with five straight losses, scoring only once in that time. They have failed to score six times this season, only expansion outfit Austin FC (eight) has been shut out more often.
- The Revolution ended a three-match winless run with a 1-0 victory at Atlanta United on Saturday. It was New England's 13th away win (including playoffs) since Bruce Arena took charge in June 2019, more than any other team in MLS in that span.
- Federico Higuain has scored eight goals against New England in his career (including playoffs), only finding the net more often against Toronto (11 times) in his MLS career. Since Higuain joined MLS in August 2012, only Bradley Wright-Phillips (nine) has scored more goals against the Revs.
- Dating back to last season's playoffs, seven of Gustavo Bou's past nine goals have been scored on the road, including his most recent three. No other player has more than five away goals since the start of the 2020 playoffs.
Updated July 20, 2021