Preview: Unbeaten in three, Revs hit the road to battle revamped Toronto FC
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution carries a three-game unbeaten run north of the border to BMO Field this weekend for a Saturday afternoon meeting with Toronto FC.
New England (3-3-2, 11 pts.) and TFC (3-3-0, 9 pts.) will get underway at 1 p.m. on Saturday, with live local television coverage on Comcast SportsNet. Details on the radio call will be announced soon.
Current Form: Revs on the rise with three-game unbeaten run; TFC looks to snap brief skid
A pair of stoppage-time goals from Teal Bunbury and Lee Nguyen lifted the Revs to a 2-0 home win over defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City last weekend, extending New England’s unbeaten run to three games (2-0-1) and leaving the club just one point behind the Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew.
In their past three games the Revs have sandwiched a pair of home wins around a road draw, a formula Andrew Farrell says has given the players the confidence they need to perform away from Foxborough.
“I think it’s important that we get good results at home,” he said. “It feels good when you get the win so you can build on that going into a tough environment like Toronto’s going to be with the high caliber of player that they have there. It’s going to be important, I think, for us to get that momentum going.”
Toronto FC will be eager just to get back on the field this Saturday; the Reds suffered back-to-back losses in mid-April before regrouping with a bye last weekend. For revamped TFC, it’s been a minor blip after starting the season strong with three wins in the club’s first four matches.
Past Meetings: Upon eighth visit, Revs still searching for first victory at BMO Field
New England and Toronto split a three-game set in 2013; each side won once at Gillette Stadium before the clubs played to a 1-1 draw at BMO Field to close the series. The Revolution’s win over TFC in May of last season was the club’s first since the 2010 home opener, snapping a five-game winless run against the Canadian side.
An even lengthier winless run still persists at BMO Field, however, where the Revs have never won in seven previous visits. But it hasn’t been all bad for the Revs in Toronto; they’ve only lost there twice, picking up five draws on their travels.
Injury Report: Revs captain Goncalves remains sidelined; Defoe set to return for TFC
The Revs will regain the services of Kevin Alston this weekend as the fullback returns from suspension, but captain and central defensive stalwart Jose Goncalves looks set to miss his third straight game as he continues to recover from a right quad strain.
Farrell has partnered A.J. Soares in central defense with Goncalves sidelined, while Darrius Barnes has been more than solid in his duties on the right side of the backline. In fact, in the two-and-a-half games Goncalves has missed in recent weeks, the Revs have conceded just one goal.
While Goncalves and recent returnee Shalrie Joseph (L calf strain) are listed as out on the official injury report, Kelyn Rowe is once again questionable as he pushes to return from the left hamstring strain which has kept him off the field for the past five games. Rowe’s status for this weekend’s trip to Toronto is up in the air as the dynamic young playmaker has worked his way back into training this week.
Having dealt with myriad injury concerns through the first six games, Toronto FC is nearing full health ahead of Saturday’s meeting with the Revs. Perhaps the biggest boost for TFC is the impending return of Jermain Defoe, who expects to play this weekend after missing the last three matches with a hamstring strain.
“You’ve got to limit those types of players because they get one or two chances and they can punish you,” Farrell said of Defoe, who had three goals in his first two games with TFC before his injury. “It’s important to keep those guys, especially Defoe, in front of you. If he gets in behind, he’s really tough to deal with. He’s got speed and he’s a world-class finisher.”
Final Thoughts: After win over defending champs, Revs excited for another big test
“It’s going to be a good test,” Farrell said of going to BMO Field. “That’s why we play this sport. You always want to go up against some of the best in the world and they’ve got some really talented, world-class players. So I’m really excited for the challenge. I think all the guys are excited for that and looking to build on this three-game unbeaten streak.”