FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saturday night’s meeting between the New England Revolution and Sporting Kansas City will be a rematch of a spirited encounter which took place just two weeks ago at Livestrong Sporting Park, but the calculus has changed significantly since that scoreless draw.
The Revs entered LSP at the tail end of a three-games-in-eight-days stretch and had suffered a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact just a few nights prior while conceding what head coach Jay Heaps considered soft goals. Taking those factors into consideration, the Revs took a decidedly defensive posture in Kansas City and battled their way to their first road shutout of the season.
While the Revs will look to show a similar defensive resolve when Sporting visits Gillette Stadium this weekend, they’ll also be eager to control the tempo and increase their attacking thrust compared to that recent meeting.
“We’re more comfortable here,” Chris Tierney said of playing in Foxborough. “We like to play on our surface and we have a good style at home. We have a decent home record this year, so we’ll look to put them under pressure, play the game in their half and look to score goals.”
There’s no question the Revs have found more success scoring goals at home, where they’ve registered 16 of their 26 goals this season despite playing one more game on the road. But the Revs were shut out in their last home game – a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC on July 14 – and they managed just two goals on a recent three-game road trip.
The scoring drought hasn’t been for lack of chances, however, as the Revs have actually outshot their opponents in three of the past four games. Rather, it’s been the simple matter of finishing off the chances which have been generated.
“We’ve been a team that has chances,” said Heaps. “When I took over that was something I always wanted to have was guys going forward creating chances … Any way you slice it, you have to attack and that’s what we’re going to continue to do. But quite frankly, we’ve got to finish. We’ve got to score these attacking opportunities.”
Finding a way to finish their chances would give the Revolution a massive boost as the club enters the stretch run of the 2012 season. While the Revs have consistently preached an attractive brand of soccer, they’ll take points any way they can get them with 13 games remaining and nine points separating them from the final playoff spot.
“In the end it doesn’t matter how pretty the tactics or anything,” said goalkeeper Matt Reis. “We just need to get results.”