Main League Soccer is usually interested in what’s shiny and new. This season’s most breathless headlines, for instance, have gone to St. Louis Metropolis SC, an enlargement staff that sits second within the Western Convention.
The New England Revolution and Columbus Crew — groups that began within the MLS within the mid-Nineties — are subverting that pattern.
Each are close to the highest of the Jap Convention, sitting in second and fourth, respectively, they usually’re doing so with out most of the recent trappings of a few of their counterparts. The Revolution do not even have their very own dwelling discipline. (New England shares Gillette Stadium with the Patriots.)
So how did the Revolution and the Crew — two of the league’s oldest and least attractive manufacturers — stay in competition?
For one, each groups invested in two of the very best coaches in MLS. The Revolution are led by Bruce Area, a Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Famer with a protracted historical past of exploits in American soccer. The Crew are coached by Wilfried Nancy, a French journeyman who beforehand led CF Montreal to the playoffs and CONCACAF Champions League.
In December, the Crew paid Montreal an enormous sum to free Nancy from his contract, which has proved to be a wise funding. His hard-nosed type lifted Columbus nearly instantly whereas Montreal has struggled mightily in his absence.
« I will be easy with you, » Nancy advised The Athletic, « I would like my gamers to be courageous. »
Each groups are dedicated to entertaining followers who’ve supported them nicely because the groups’ inceptions, and each fan bases have fought arduous for his or her groups.
Revolution followers gentle up proprietor Robert Kraft when his consideration skews too closely towards his New England Patriots. Crew followers lambasted earlier proprietor Anthony Precourt for threatening to take the franchise to Austin.
Saturday’s Crew-Revolution sport ought to be a big-hearted affair. Columbus is coming off two straight shutout wins. New England is 3-0-1 in opposition to Jap Convention and has allowed solely six targets.
In brief, it is an old-school matchup between two of the league’s oldest groups.