New England Revolution Open 2021 MLS Season Saturday at Chicago Fire FC
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Revolution are set to open the 2021 Major League Soccer season Saturday on the road against Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field. The match will be televised locally on WBZ-TV and myRITV, also streaming on ESPN+ for out-of-market subscribers. Pregame coverage on WBZ-TV begins with Revolution Kickoff at 8:00 p.m. ET. The contest also airs locally on the radio on 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2 and 1260 AM Nossa Radio (Portuguese).
Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena, the league's winningest active coach, enters his third season and second full campaign with New England after leading the club to the 2020 Eastern Conference Final, its best finish since 2014. This year's Revolution squad features all 11 starters from the 2020 playoff finale, including the dynamic attacking trio of Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou, and Adam Buksa. The offensive firepower on display throughout the playoff run remains intact, as returning players accounted for 29 of the team's 32 overall goals in 2020. The defensive unit, anchored by sixth-year goalkeeper Matt Turner and the center-back tandem of Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler, also brings consistency to the pitch after helping set a club record for lowest goals-against average last season.
Saturday's match marks New England's 13th consecutive season opener on the road, as the club will look to improve on its 23-27-14 record against Chicago Fire FC. The Revolution's last season-opening victory came against Chicago in 2013. In a shortened 2020 season, New England racked up a 5-4-1 away record, in addition to a 1-0-2 mark in neutral-site contests. Those six regular season wins away from Gillette Stadium tied a club record.
Following the match, the Revolution will return to Foxborough to welcome fans back to Gillette Stadium for the club's 2021 home opener on Saturday, April 24 vs. D.C. United (8:00 p.m. ET -- myTV38, myRITV, 98.5 The Sports Hub, Nossa Radio).
Game 1 vs. Chicago Fire FC
Date: Saturday, April 17, 2021
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Soldier Field (Chicago, Illinois)
Pregame Show: Revolution Kickoff begins at 8:00 p.m. ET on WBZ-TV
TV: WBZ-TV and myRITV
Streaming: ESPN+ (Out-of-market subscribers)
Talent: Brad Feldman (play-by-play), Charlie Davies (analyst)
English Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2
Portuguese Radio: WBIX 1260 AM "Nossa Radio USA"
Talent: Luiz Lombardi Jr., Gustavo Lopes, Caio Morare, and Juliane Marroney
Here are a few top storylines to watch for during Saturday's contest:
Sporting Director & Head Coach Bruce Arena, the winningest active coach in MLS, improving on his 7-4-2 career record in season openers as he embarks on his third season (and second full campaign) leading the Revolution. Arena has reached MLS Cup in seven of his 16 previous seasons in MLS.
Arena building on his 14-4-5 all-time mark against Chicago FC, including a 2-0-1 record with New England.
All 11 starters from the 2020 Eastern Conference Final returning to action with the Revolution. Of the team's 32 goals scored in 2020, 29 of them were tallied by players still on the roster.
The Revolution's trio of Designated Players - F Adam Buksa, F Gustavo Bou, and M Carles Gil - beginning the 2021 season at full strength. In 2020, New England went 5-2-1 in the eight games in which all three players appeared, including the postseason.
D Andrew Farrell (239 appearances, 236 starts, and 21,402 minutes played) closing in on Shalrie Joseph's club records for appearances (261), games started (254) and minutes played (22,867).
F Tajon Buchanan and D Henry Kessler returning to MLS action after making their international debuts this March with Canada and the United States, respectively, in the Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship
Outside backs Brandon Bye and DeJuan Jones bringing valuable MLS experience to the flanks as they begin their fourth and third MLS seasons, respectively.
GK Matt Turner building on a strong 2020 campaign in which he finished second in MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year voting and was named Revolution Team MVP. This January, he was rewarded with a contract extension and his first-ever appearance with the U.S. Men's National Team.
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