FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Fresh off an unbeaten three-game road swing, the New England Revolution returns home looking to continue its recent turnaround on Saturday, Aug. 6, when the club hosts Chivas USA at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff between the Revs (4-9-9, 21 pts.) and Chivas USA (6-8-8, 26 pts.) is set for 7:30 p.m. The match will be televised live in high definition on Comcast SportsNet New England, while 98.5 The Sports Hub will carry the call on the radio.
Current Form: After success on the road, Revs hope to continue resurgence upon return home
Last weekend at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, Rajko Lekic’s fourth goal of the season helped the Revs earn a 1-1 draw with red-hot Sporting Kansas City to finish their three-game road trip with five points. The journey began with a 1-0 win over D.C. United at RFK Stadium and also included a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
With their confidence boosted following a trio of positive performances, the Revs will now look to transfer their recent road form back home as they’ll play three of their next four games within the familiar confines of Gillette Stadium.
“Going on the road is tough, but obviously we did pretty well to get five points,” said Benny Feilhaber. “(We’re) a bit hungry to get more points because maybe we should’ve gotten a couple more in a couple of those games. But coming home is always good.”
Chivas USA saw its five-game unbeaten run come to an end last weekend at Pizza Hut Park as the Goats suffered a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas. Still, Robin Fraser’s side has climbed the standings up to sixth place in the Western Conference thanks in large part to a resolute defense which has conceded just three goals in its last six games.
Past Meetings: Chivas USA coasted to 3-0 victory over the Revs on April 30
Chivas USA handed the Revs one of their worst losses of the season back on April 30 at The Home Depot Center, as Nick LaBrocca, Marcos Mondaini and Alejandro Moreno each scored once to lifts the Goats to a 3-0 victory.
“Since I’ve been here, they’re the best team we’ve played against, at least that given day,” said Feilhaber, who made his MLS debut one week prior to the April meeting with Chivas USA. “They dominated us. They made us run all over the field and they passed it around us for fun. It could’ve been a lot worse than 3-0.
“They’re a good team and we have something to prove after what they did to us in LA,” Feilhaber added. “Hopefully we can go out there, outplay them and obviously outscore them and win the game. We know they’re not going to be an easy team.”
April’s victory was Chivas USA’s fourth consecutive triumph over the Revs – all via shutout – which ironically followed back-to-back shutout victories for the Revolution over Chivas USA.
Injury Report: Coria (L MCL sprain) set to miss out while Lekic (R great toe fracture) is doubtful
Central defender Franco Coria will be unavailable to the Revs on Saturday night because of a left MCL sprain, while Lekic is doubtful after suffering a fracture in the big toe on his right foot. Both Stephen McCarthy (L shoulder dislocation) and Pat Phelan (R hip flexor strain) are questionable after participating in varying degrees of training throughout the week.
With Lekic likely sidelined, head coach Steve Nicol is poised to hand Argentine forward Milton Caraglio – the Revolution’s first-ever Designated Player – a debut start after just two training sessions with his new teammates.
“He’s going to start the game, and then we’ll go from there and see what he’s got in his tank,” Nicol said of Caraglio, who is still short of full match fitness. “As soon as his tank’s done, we’ll do something about it.”
Veteran defender Jimmy Conrad is the only player listed on Chivas USA’s most recent injury report, as the club’s captain is doubtful with a concussion. Conrad hasn’t featured for Chivas USA since March, missing the last 20 games through injury.
Key Players: Revolution center backs Darrius Barnes and Ryan Cochrane
With Coria injured and rookie defender A.J. Soares suspended following his red card last weekend in Kansas City, New England’s central defensive duties are likely to be handled by Darrius Barnes and Ryan Cochrane. The duo has yet to partner each other as center backs in a regular-season match, but Cochrane is confident chemistry won’t be an issue.
“We haven’t really played together at center back since preseason and at that point we didn’t have a lot of time together, either,” said Cochrane, who’s poised to return from the left foot injury which has sidelined him in recent weeks. “I think we’ve been on the field together on the backline with [Darrius] on the left side, so we’ve had time to work together. We both know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and it should be a good pairing.”
Final Thoughts: “Either you do it now, or you don’t do it”
Saturday night’s game kicks off the August slate and signifies the beginning of the stretch run of the 2011 season. Currently fighting for their playoff lives, both the Revs and Chivas USA will be scrapping for the full three points as teams look to keep themselves in contention.
“It’s a playoff battle,” said Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph. “I think the [rest] of the games going through the season it’s going to be very important that we pick up three points. [Chivas USA’s] probably in the same position that we are. It’s important that we get those three points at home.”
“This is kind of a key point in the year right now where those teams who are on the bubble, or a little bit behind the bubble, a little bit behind the pace are really trying to fight for points,” said Cochrane. “We’re both in the same kind of position and either you do it now, or you don’t do it.”