FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will play its fifth consecutive game against a Western Conference opponent when the league-leading LA Galaxy visits Gillette Stadium on Saturday, May 28.
Kickoff between the Revs (3-4-4, 13 pts.) and Galaxy (7-2-5, 26 pts.) is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England and nationally in Spanish on Galavision. Fans can tune into the radio call on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Revs searching for consistency while Galaxy continues rolling
Returning to league play after a reserve-laden lineup suffered a 5-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City in a midweek U.S. Open Cup play-in match, the Revs are looking to put together a consistent string of results after an up-and-down start to the season.
New England opened the month of May with back-to-back clean sheets against the Colorado Rapids (0-0 draw) and Vancouver Whitecaps (1-0 win), but saw its 283-minute shutout streak come to an end late in last weekend’s 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes. On Saturday night, the Revs hope to begin their climb out of the middle of the pack in the crowded Eastern Conference standings.
“We’re looking to put last weekend’s loss right, so it’ll be a good game for us,” said Chris Tierney, who has recently occupied the left midfield role left vacant by the injured Marko Perovic. “(There’s a) big crowd expected, a good atmosphere, so we’ll hope to win one for the home fans.”
Los Angeles is currently riding a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) and has put together three straight wins on its way to first place in the overall league standings. Most recently the Galaxy claimed consecutive 1-0 wins over Chivas USA (May 21) and the Houston Dynamo (May 25), meaning the club hasn’t conceded a goal in more than 200 minutes.
Past Meetings: Joseph’s early goal guided Revs to a 1-1 draw in season opener at the HDC
Saturday night’s game will be a rematch of the Revolution’s season opener back on March 20, when Shalrie Joseph scored the second-fastest goal to start a season in Revs history (third minute) to help his side claim a 1-1 draw at The Home Depot Center. The Revs are one of just two teams (along with the New York Red Bulls) to earn a point on the road against the Galaxy this season.
According to Tierney, another quick start would go a long way in claiming a victory in Foxborough this weekend.
“That was crucial,” he said of Joseph’s quick-fire strike in the first meeting with LA. “That got us the result, so hopefully we’ll be looking to set the tone early tomorrow, as well. The earlier the goals come for us, the better.”
Injury Report: Dabo still recovering from right adductor strain; LA’s Leonardo out for the season
Ousmane Dabo is one of four Revolution players who’ll miss Saturday night’s game because of injury, as the veteran Frenchman is still recovering from the right adductor strain he suffered in training on May 10. Dabo will be joined on the sideline by Kheli Dube (whiplash/car accident), Kenny Mansally (R foot contusion) and Perovic (L knee sprain).
Dube is the only new addition to the injury list having suffered whiplash in a car accident as he left the stadium following last weekend’s return trip from San Jose. The fourth-year forward has been evaluated throughout the week and he was added to the list late this week as his symptoms persisted.
Most notably absent for the Galaxy will be defender Leonardo, who started LA’s first seven games this season before tearing both the ACL and LCL in his right knee during a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire on April 17. Former Revolution forward Adam Cristman is questionable as he recovers from left knee surgery.
Key Players: Revolution wide midfielders Chris Tierney and Zak Boggs
Zak Boggs (on the right) and Tierney (on the left) have served as the Revolution’s wide midfielders in recent weeks, and the duo could play critical roles at both ends of the field on Saturday night.
Should head coach Steve Nicol continue with the 4-5-1 formation he’s deployed for the past two games, both Boggs and Tierney will be tasked with providing support and service to lone striker Rajko Lekic as he looks to score his first goal since April 23 against Sporting KC. Additionally, the pair could be asked to track back and limit the effectiveness of LA’s wide players, including David Beckham.
“If there’s a guy in the league who can pick a pass from nothing, he’s the guy,” Nicol said of Beckham. “So the less time he spends on the ball or the less time we give him on the ball, the better for us.”
Final Thoughts: LA’s midweek victory over Houston of little concern to the Revs
While the Revs opted to leave many of their starters behind in Foxborough while a reserve-heavy side traveled to Kansas City for a midweek U.S. Open Cup play-in match, the Galaxy used a full strength lineup in its 1-0 win over the Dynamo on Wednesday night at The Home Depot Center.
Despite LA’s whirlwind itinerary, Nicol said his side’s approach isn’t dictated by its opponents’ schedule.
“Regardless of what they’ve been doing, we have to come out quick,” he said. “Regardless of where they are, we have to come out and try to impose ourselves on the game from the get go.”