FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution closes out its 2011 schedule on Saturday, Oct. 22, when the club visits Toronto FC for a meeting between two non-playoff sides looking to end the season on a winning note.
Kickoff at BMO Field between the Revs (5-16-12, 27 pts.) and TFC (6-13-14, 32 pts.) is set for 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised live in high definition on Comcast SportsNet New England, while the radio call will be available on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Revs hope to halt five-game losing skid; TFC riding wave of massive midweek win
Last weekend’s 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew in the home finale at Gillette Stadium was the Revolution’s fifth straight setback, marking the club’s longest losing streak since 2001. Even a victory in the season finale against Toronto wouldn’t prevent the Revs from establishing a new club record for fewest wins in a season, which currently stands at seven, set during the shortened 27-game schedule in 2001. The Revs have recorded five wins entering Saturday’s showdown with Toronto.
Three points could, however, pull the Revolution off the bottom of the league standings provided Vancouver Whitecaps FC doesn’t defeat the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night. The expansion Whitecaps enter the final weekend on 28 points, one ahead of the Revs.
Major League Soccer’s other Canadian side, Toronto FC, will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight time since joining the league as an expansion team in 2007. But the Reds have been resurgent since a midseason overhaul which included the addition of Designated Players Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans, going 2-1-3 in their last six league matches and climbing off the foot of the Eastern Conference table.
Apart from its league form, TFC recorded what is likely the biggest win in club history on Tuesday night at Pizza Hut Park, claiming a 3-0 triumph over FC Dallas to clinch a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
Past Meetings: New England in search of first-ever win at BMO Field
Goalkeepers Matt Reis and Stefan Frei combined to make 10 saves as the Revs and Toronto played out a scoreless draw in the season’s first meeting on June 15 at Gillette Stadium. The result kept the Revolution unbeaten (4-0-2) against TFC in six meetings in Foxborough.
New England’s four trips north of the border haven’t proved quite as successful, however, as the Revs are winless (0-2-2) at Toronto’s BMO Field. After drawing their first two matches in Toronto, the Revs have suffered a pair of defeats in their last two visits.
Injury Report: Fagundez one of five missing for the Revolution
Diego Fagundez’s run of three consecutive starts will come to an end as the 16-year-old Home Grown talent will miss the season finale after suffering a concussion last weekend against the Columbus Crew. Fagundez appeared to suffer the injury during a clash of heads with Crew defender Chad Marshall and eventually left the game in the 80th minute.
“There are so many of these injuries cropping up now that you just have to be careful,” said head coach Steve Nicol. “It’s not like 40 years ago when nobody bothered and you just shoved them back out. You can’t do that. Obviously there are things further down the line that you need to make sure somebody’s OK.
“So as far as Diego’s concerned, it’s the last game of the season,” Nicol added. “If it was a cup final would we be trying to see if we could get him out there? Probably, but we’re going to be smart and just leave him.”
Fagundez will remain in Foxborough along with fellow injury victims Stephen McCarthy (L shoulder surgery), Sainey Nyassi (R hamstring strain), Reis (R hamstring strain) and A.J. Soares (L ankle surgery).
Toronto’s most recent injury report features eight names, the most notable of which are Richard Eckersley (R hamstring strain), Joao Plata (L hamstring strain) and Koevermans (R knee contusion). Of those three, only Eckersley didn’t feature in Tuesday’s victory over FC Dallas, as Koevermans and Plata (2) combined to score all three of Toronto’s goals.
Key Player: Revolution forward Rajko Lekic
Danish forward Rajko Lekic returned to the field for a 22-minute substitute appearance last weekend against Columbus after missing the previous three games with a sprained left ankle. It was a promising sign after it was initially believed Lekic could’ve been done for the season when he suffered the injury on Sept. 16 in Portland.
The timing of Lekic’s return could prove critical for the Revs, who will be without Fagundez, the player who served as Milton Caraglio’s forward partner in Lekic’s absence. With Fagundez sidelined, Lekic could be in for an immediate return to the starting lineup against Toronto.
Final Thoughts: Last chance for Revs to prove themselves
“We’ve battled for each other game in and game out, and it’s just been one of those seasons for us,” said defender Darrius Barnes. “For us to go out there, continue to do some of the same things, add some pieces to that and get a ‘W,’ at the end of the day, that’d be a solid day for us.”
“A win,” said captain Shalrie Joseph when asked what he wants to see on Saturday. “More than anything else, (I want) a win. Just to play a complete game and 90 minutes of soccer, whether it be defensively or offensively. Try to move the ball better, create [some] more chances, get some scoring attacks and just get a win.”