Preview: Two sides in search of first win set to clash as Revs visit Earthquakes
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Last Saturday’s home opener provided a brief respite from traveling, but the New England Revolution returns to the road this weekend, heading across the country to battle the San Jose Earthquakes.
New England (0-2-1, 1 pt.) and San Jose (0-1-1, 1 pt.) will get underway at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night, with both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub carrying the action from Buck Shaw Stadium.
Current Form: Both Revolution and Earthquakes still searching for first victory of 2014
The Revs will have another chance to secure their first goal and win of the 2014 campaign on Saturday night, having received a boost from last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. While it was another frustrating afternoon in the attacking third, New England was solid defensively in limiting the Whitecaps to two shots on target and claiming a first clean sheet of the season.
“It’s good to get off and running, get a point and a clean sheet,” said Andy Dorman, who earned praise for his performance in a holding midfield role. “We’ve just got to use it as a springboard going into [Saturday].”
New England runs up against a San Jose side also in search of its first win of the season after following up a dramatic 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake by dropping a 1-0 decision at Sporting Kansas City last weekend. While the Earthquakes have only played two regular-season games, they’ve played four in all competitions, bowing out of the CONCACAF Champions League at the quarterfinal stage in a penalty shootout loss to Mexico’s Toluca.
Past Meetings: Revs hoping to make it a memorable final visit to Buck Shaw Stadium
With the Earthquakes scheduled to open their new stadium at the start of the 2015 season, Saturday night’s visit to Buck Shaw Stadium will likely be the Revolution’s last. It will also be New England’s first time returning to Buck Shaw since Jay Heaps made his MLS head coaching debut on March 10, 2012.
The Revs haven’t found much success at the venue, going 1-4-0 in Santa Clara since the Earthquakes returned to MLS at the beginning of the 2008 season. In those five contests the Revs have managed just two goals, suffering three straight losses since a season-opening victory on March 21, 2009.
New England isn’t the only club which has struggled in San Jose recently; the Earthquakes enter Saturday night’s contest carrying a 21-game home unbeaten streak in all competitions.
Goals from Saer Sene and Dimitry Imbongo did help the Revs snap a five-game winless run against the Earthquakes in their only meeting last year, a 2-0 win for the Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
Injury Report: Rowe sidelined by hamstring strain; Alston upgraded to questionable
Kelyn Rowe (L hamstring strain) appears likely to miss out on Saturday night’s match after limping off in the late stages of last weekend’s draw with Vancouver. It’s the second time in three weeks Rowe has been sidelined by a hamstring ailment after sitting out the loss in Philadelphia because of tightness in his right hamstring.
Veteran playmaker Daigo Kobayashi is one potential replacement for Rowe in central midfield. The former Whitecaps midfielder has appeared as a substitute in the Revolution’s last two matches after starting the season opener and has impressed Heaps on each occasion.
“I thought Daigo did excellent (against Vancouver),” said Heaps. “I thought Daigo came in and changed the game and gave us one or two really good opportunities to score.”
While Rowe was listed as out on Tuesday’s official injury report, Kevin Alston was upgraded to questionable as he aims to return from the hamstring strain which has forced him to miss New England’s last two matches.
San Jose lists three players as out (Tommy Muller, Tommy Thompson and Jason Hernandez), while three others are listed as questionable (Brandon Barklage, Jordan Stewart and Andreas Gorlitz).
Final Thoughts: Last weekend’s defensive performance provides a base moving forward
“It was a good game, good effort by the boys,” Andrew Farrell said of last weekend’s draw. “Getting the first point of the season is always a little weight off the shoulders. We got the shutout, as well, so we’re looking to build on that result going into a tough environment in San Jose.”