FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Aiming to complete an unbeaten month of June, the New England Revolution kicks off a season-long three-game home-stand on Saturday night against Seattle Sounders FC.
Kickoff from Gillette Stadium between the Revs (5-7-3, 18 pts.) and Sounders (7-5-4, 25 pts.) is set for 7:30 p.m., and 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 looking to stretch unbeaten run to four; Sounders aim to stop recent slide
The Revs used a dramatic 94th-minute equalizer from Chris Tierney to extend their unbeaten run to three games (1-0-2) with a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC last weekend at BMO Field. Tierney’s strike completed a two-goal comeback inside the final 20 minutes and although the Revs felt they were unlucky to be trailing 2-0 at halftime, they were pleased with the resolve shown to fight back in the late stages.
“We were very frustrated at halftime of that Toronto game, but we went back and watched and we weren’t that bad,” said Clyde Simms, who returned from a four-game injury layoff at BMO Field. “We gave up two crosses and they scored two goals. But it was great, our reaction to that, even though it took a little while. We stuck with it and it was good. We can see what we’re capable of the second half of that Toronto game and that’s something that we have to continue to do moving forward from the start of the Seattle game.”
Seattle is in the midst of a seven-game winless streak (0-4-3) in league play, which comes on the heels of the club’s remarkable 7-1-1 run to start the campaign. Despite struggling to pick up results in regular-season action, the Sounders have continued to roll through the U.S. Open Cup, claiming a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday night to advance to the competition’s semifinal round and continue their quest for an unprecedented fourth straight title.
Past Meetings: All-time series all even after Sounders swept two-game set in 2011
The Revolution-Sounders series has been evenly split since Seattle joined MLS in 2009 with each side picking up three wins on the strengths of 2-1-0 records at home.
Seattle had the upper hand in 2011, however, claiming a pair of 2-1 victories in June and October. The Sounders came from behind in both matches, erasing Sainey Nyassi’s third-minute goal at CenturyLink Field and Diego Fagundez’s 35th-minute strike at Gillette Stadium.
Injury Report: Joseph returns but Alston sidelined; Seattle’s Montero suspended
After missing just one game with a right adductor injury, Revs captain Shalrie Joseph will be available once again on Saturday night as the central midfielder has been removed from the injury report. Nyassi will also be available for the first time this season after the speedy winger was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday.
Unfortunately it’s not all good news for the Revs as Jose Moreno (L ankle sprain) remains out, and he’ll be joined on the sidelines by Kevin Alston (L hamstring tightness), who was removed in the first half of last weekend’s draw with Toronto.
Notorious Revs-killer Fredy Montero won’t be adding to his goal-scoring total against the Revolution this weekend as the Colombian forward is suspended following his ejection from last weekend’s 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers. Montero has four goals in five career appearances against New England, including a double in last year’s 2-1 Seattle victory at Gillette Stadium.
The Sounders will also be without starting goalkeeper Michael Gspurning (R hip strain), who racked up a 0.46 goals against average and three shutouts in seven appearances before his injury, and third-year forward David Estrada (L foot fracture), who is tied for the team in goals (5) with Eddie Johnson.
Key Player: Revolution defender Flo Lechner
Flo Lechner was thrust into a difficult situation last weekend at BMO Field, making his first appearance in almost three months as a 40th-minute substitute for the injured Alston. The veteran defender settled quickly, however, and capped a strong performance by setting up Tierney’s late equalizer.
With Alston sidelined, Lechner will likely have the chance to play from the start on Saturday, giving the German right back an added edge both on game day and in the buildup.
“He’s just still getting up to speed with the athleticism in the league,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “The more we give him on the opposing player, I think the better he’ll be. Knowing that he’s going to start, going to start playing, I think those things are (important).”
Final Thoughts: Revs aim to be on the front foot from the opening whistle
“Any time you’re home you want to try to push the tempo,” said Blake Brettschneider. “Obviously, you want to be the aggressor. You never want to be falling back at home. But especially against a team that’s basically been all over the country the last week-and-a-half, we would be crazy to not try to push the tempo and test their legs. That’s part of our game plan. Try to run them as much as we can, get in behind them, create a lot of chances and hopefully wear them down and make the game easier for us. But they’re a smart team. They’ve been around, they’ve done it all and we don’t expect anything less than a good match from them.”