There will be new managers on both sides when the New England Revolution visit the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night in Commerce City, Colo.
But the coaches are taking charge under considerably different circumstances.
Clint Peay is guiding New England on an interim basis following the resignation of Bruce Arena, who had been under investigation for more than a month for allegedly making inappropriate comments.
Peay replaces previous interim boss Richie Williams, who had assumed the reins from Arena but who was also perhaps involved in the allegations against him, according to reporting from The Athletic.
While it feels like a mess off the field, on it, New England (13-5-9, 48 points) remains one of the league’s top contenders and enters the weekend in second in the Eastern Conference, a point in front of Orlando and two ahead of Philadelphia.
Carles Gil leads the team with eight goals and 12 assists, and four players have scored at least five times.
“I think it’s clear from the top down that this is a team that wants to win,” said Peay, who was promoted from managing New England’s reserve team. “So I think the expectations are to work toward being the champions at the end of the season. And that’s it.”
The conditions surrounding Chris Little in Colorado are more typical of an interim coach.
Colorado (3-13-10, 19 points) dismissed Robin Fraser after a third consecutive defeat and a longer stretch of just one victory in 15 games.
The last-place Rapids have scored an MLS-worst 16 goals and haven’t scored in their last 478 minutes of action. No single player has scored more than twice, and 2022 leading scorer Diego Rubio has only one in 10 appearances after missing an extended stretch to an upper-body injury.
While the Rapids are not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, at 15 points beneath the line in the Western Conference, the focus is on the bigger picture.
“In professional sports, you can’t control the past, you can only learn from it,” said Little, formerly Fraser’s assistant. “We have to right now put our energy and our attention into what we’re doing in the future.”
–Field Level Media