Competitive redundancy is the byproduct of an unbalanced pandemic-configured MLS schedule.
The Revolution (3-3-6) will engage the Montreal Impact (5-6-10) for the third time this season in a 5 p.m. match Wednesday at Gillette Stadium.
The Revolution opened the season with a 2-1 loss at Montreal on Feb. 29 under unfavorable circumstances. The Revolution were accompanied by a snow storm on their trip north and performed on a pitch club sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena described as “a piece of cement inside a building.”
The Revolution avenged the loss with a 1-0 victory over the Impact in the opening game of group play in the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Fla., on July 9.
The pitch at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World was exceptionally groomed and marked but the heat and humidity were intolerable. The Revolution play Montreal for the final time on Oct. 14 at a neutral site.
“We’re all playing each other,” said Arena during a Zoom conference on Tuesday. “We’re going to end up playing teams this year four times in the regular season and it is a little bit monotonous.
“That’s the reason they expanded the playoffs as well, because the schedule is so unbalanced. It bothers us. When you see the schedule (for the remainder of the regular season), there are five teams in our conference we don’t play this year.
“The one thing I guess you can say is an advantage is that you don’t have to do much scouting because you’ve played these teams so many times. You know them inside-out, your players know them so it’s not like you’re starting from scratch.”
The Revolution are 2-2-3 since being eliminated from the MLS tournament, and both victories were on the road. New England is coming off a scoreless draw with New York City FC at Gillette on Saturday night. Center midfielder Lee Nguyen made his first start since being reacquired in a trade from Inter Miami and played 89 minutes.
“I think the last game was the first one I’ve seen in a long time that we looked like we had 11 players on the field that were working together,” said Arena.
“They had an understanding about what they wanted to do and we were fairly consistent in doing that. That’s very encouraging and I think some of the players we’ve brought in have certainly helped up. They’ve changed our identity.”
Sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Impact, a victory would help improve the playoff picture for the Revs. They are still looking for their first home win of the season.
“It’s been a weird season, right?” said midfielder Kelyn Rowe. “We’ve seen them twice already and it’s a little bit different, we’ve been playing the same few teams for a while.”