Welcome to our BayStateSoccerSentinel.com free preview 2021! Starting in May, our game recaps and opinion pieces will be behind a paywall. Feel free to join our Patreon service. Breaking news is always free.
Ahhh, the weekend we’ve all been waiting for has arrived.
OK, technically — technically, technically — we still have another week to go before the Revolution open the 2021 season, but there is just enough soccer this weekend to whet our whistles and quench our hunger for the approaching campaign.
While the first team is still out in Los Angeles for the final preseason game (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, no stream available), Revolution II will get their second campaign in USL League One underway on Saturday when Los Revitos travel to Florida to take on Inter Miami’s second team, Fort Lauderdale CF (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+).
There has been quite a bit of turnover with Revs II from their maiden campaign, and Clint Peay has brought in some players who will look to improve on New England’s ninth-place finish out of 11 teams from last season. This year, though, there will be a 12th team, with Toronto FC II returning to the league after bowing out last year due to Covid.
And with a number of players who were at Revs II last season coming back from the California trip with the first team to join the second team — Collin Verfurth, Joe Rice, Damian Rivera, Justin Rennicks, and Connor Presley all departed first-team camp Friday morning — it will be interesting to see exactly what type of an XI Peay mixes and matches and trots out there to play Fort Lauderdale, a team that finished its season one slot behind New England.
While our opinion won’t matter in the slightest, we would like to see Meny Silva pairing with newcomer Ryan Sierakowski up top, with Ryan Spaulding causing havoc on that left-hand side. We could possibly see Marzuq Puckerin of Cambridge in goal Saturday with Rice coming from California, and we’re thinking we’ll see some of Prosper Figbe at some point.
Fort Lauderdale went through a bit of transition in the offseason, as coach Jason Kreis left the team, with Englishman Darren Powell taking over.
Revs II beat Fort Lauderdale, 4-1, in the team’s only meeting this past season.
But not just Revs II and League One gets underway this weekend: no, NWSL also gets its 2021 season started with the 2021 Challenge Cup. Four matches are on the docket, starting with tonight’s tourney opener between the Houston Dash and Chicago Red Stars (8:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN), followed by Portland and Kansas City’s renewal in the league (10:30 p.m. ET, Paramount+). On Saturday, both matches will be on Paramount+, with the North Carolina Courage taking on the Washington Spirit at 3 p.m., before expansion side Racing Louisville takes on Orlando.
NY/NY Gotham FC — formerly Sky Blue FC — get going on April 14. OL Reign in Seattle starts the 16th of April. NWSL has 10 teams this season with the inclusion of Racing Louisville, and adds Los Angeles in 2022.
We found out yesterday that we will not have Revolution games on NBC Sports Boston this season. Instead, CBS Channel 4 and myTV38 will be the joint home of Revolution soccer in 2021, starting with next Saturday night’s road tilt at Chicago, which will be on WBZ.
A majority of Revolution tilts will be on WSBK, which takes care of potential conflicts when it comes to WBZ airing Patriot games or other college football games this fall.
In addition, myRITV will carry the Revolution games in the Ocean State.
What else did we find out this week? New signing Arnór Traustason has received his P1 Visa and is expected to arrive in Foxborough this weekend. Revolution senior in-house reporter Jeff Lemieux reported Thursday afternoon that the Icelandic international will have to observe a seven-day quarantine period before he can join the squad.
I know there’s talk on the hashtag about the possibilities of Traustason not taking part in next Saturday’s opener. Of course, that would be the prudent thought: he would not be able to train with his new squad until after the quarantine is served and wouldn’t be on the same page in terms of planned moves. Relationships and connections between players develop and blossom on the training pitch. Sure. I get that.
But let’s remember something: he’s an Icelandic international. Even without training with the team, it would give Chicago pause any time he got on the ball. They don’t know what he will do, either.
My hope is that regardless of training, he gets a solid run-out next weekend even as a substitute and creates just enough havoc to let the Revolution steal a point.
And remember something else: Luis Caicedo had limited training time with the first team when he arrived in 2018 ahead of the home opener, and had a good maiden appearance with the Revolution against NYCFC.
Here is hoping lightning strikes twice with Traustason.