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Revs Back Line Faces Tremendous Test Against Sporting Kansas City
"They’re really good one v. one players. They love to dribble, they love to attack and they’re always dangerous."
While Sporting Kansas City has struggled mightily in 2023, the New England Revolution back line will be tested on Saturday.
With a front three featuring the likes of Daniel Salloi, Alan Pulido, and Johnny Russell, Kansas City has the ability to score in bunches. Russell scored eight goals in 2022 while Salloi tallied seven goals.
Alan Pulido missed all of last season due to injury but he has had an impressive MLS career. Pulido has racked up 14 goals in 36 MLS games played.
While Salloi is the only player out of the three to score so far in 2023, the ability is waiting in the shadows. Revolution head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena believes that soon enough Kansas City will start scoring.
“Well, I think it's something that doesn't add up at this point,” Arena said. “I think there's quality players there in their front line. They're all good players. They're good on attacking set pieces. So, one would think that they're going to start scoring goals. Hopefully, it’s not against us on Saturday, but I do believe that have a really solid team and again, we're only eight games into the season and I think they have plenty of time to move their team in the right direction, but [Johnny] Russell's a very good player. They brought [Alan] Pulido back, their Mexican player who they believe in, and the other player, [Dániel] Sallói is a good player as well, so they have three good attacking players up top. And there's no reason to believe that they're not going to be dangerous.”
If anyone knows about the talent of KC’s attack, it is Ben Sweat. The left back signed with New England after being waived by Sporting Kansas City. With the potential to make his Revolution debut against his former team, Sweat will be able to give an in-depth scouting report to his new teammates.
“I mean, whatever questions they have for me, Bruce [Arena] and Richie [Williams] and the coaching staff, I can answer,” Sweat said. “I can help them. I'm here now and I'm here to win, and I want to help this team every way possible, so that's something we've been working with this entire week.”
The 31-year-old added that Pulido, Russell, and Salloi are tremendous players.
“Yeah, they're tremendous players,” Sweat said. “They’re really good one v. one players. They love to dribble, they love to attack and they’re always dangerous. No matter how the game is going, those two guys are always dangerous, so that's something that we're going to have to take care of this weekend.”
The challenge of going up attacking talent such as KC’s is only compounded by the news that Henry Kessler will be missing four months due to surgery to repair a leg injury. Luckily New England has Andrew Farrell but their depth will be tested as the schedule continues to ramp up.
It might seem like Saturday should be an easy game for New England but if they walk into Gillette Stadium thinking that three points are already in the bag, Kansas City will take advantage of that. They have the talent to start scoring goals at an impressive rate.
While the Revolution should walk away with three points, they won’t do so by simply showing up to the stadium.