FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Fall officially begins this weekend as the New England Revolution hosts the New York Red Bulls in the penultimate home game of the 2012 season on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
The Revs (7-15-7, 28 pts.) and Red Bulls (14-8-7, 49 pts.) will get underway at 7:30 p.m., with Comcast SportsNet televising the game regionally and 98.5 The Sports Hub handling the radio call.
Current Form: Playoffs officially out of reach for NE; NY part of crowded postseason picture
Last week’s 2-1 loss to D.C. United – despite registering a club-record 28 shots – ended both the Revolution’s modest three-game unbeaten run and the club’s faint playoff hopes. But five games still remain on the 2012 schedule and the Revs are adamant that they’ll press forward through the final weeks as they begin looking toward 2013.
“It’s definitely unfortunate when technically you’re out of it,” said Ryan Guy. “This is a good test for us because we’ve got less to play for now, but we’re still fighting for our jobs, we’re still fighting for our positions and now we’re already looking to next year.”
The Red Bulls had a five-game unbeaten run snapped with a midweek loss to Sporting Kansas City, putting their playoff status in a perilous position. A victory over SKC would’ve launched New York to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, but the setback means Hans Backe’s club is now just four points clear of the Columbus Crew, which is currently outside the playoff picture looking to break into the top five.
Past Meetings: Saturday night serves as rubber match in 2012 season series
The Revs and Red Bulls will settle their three-game season series on Saturday night after the clubs split the first two meetings, with each side winning at home. Thierry Henry’s early goal was enough to lift New York to a 1-0 victory on April 28 at Red Bull Arena, while Jerry Bengtson scored on his MLS debut – after Lee Nguyen had opened the scoring – to lift the Revs to a 2-0 win on July 8 at Gillette Stadium.
New England’s triumph in that most recent meeting in Foxborough continued a stretch of home dominance over New York which dates all the way back to 2002. The Revs haven’t lost at home to New York in more than 10 years, going 11-0-4 in 15 regular-season meetings during that span.
Injury Report: Tierney ruled out for Revs; Henry suspended for Red Bulls
After traveling to Washington, D.C., but not dressing for last weekend’s loss to United, Chris Tierney has been ruled out for Saturday night’s meeting with the Red Bulls as he continues to suffer from both a left knee sprain and left hamstring strain. In his stead, Kevin Alston will be expected to continue at left back, where the 24-year-old has started each of the past three games.
It was announced earlier this week that leading scorer Saer Sene has undergone reconstructive surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, a procedure which is expected to sideline the French striker for the next 6-8 months. Last weekend at RFK Stadium the Revs utilized a forward pairing of Bengtson and Diego Fagundez.
New York’s most recent injury report features only two names – rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara (L hip surgery) and defender Roy Miller (groin strain), both of whom are listed as out – but the most notable absence will be star striker Henry. The Red Bulls’ captain will be suspended for Saturday night’s showdown after the MLS Disciplinary Committee handed him a one-game ban for violent conduct in the midweek loss to Sporting KC.
Final Thoughts: Above all else, Revs still playing for “personal pride”
“You take whatever you get out of the game,” said goalkeeper Matt Reis. “If it’s going to be playing the spoiler for teams or if it’s going to be the fact that you put a good performance out there, it’s all about personal pride right now and showing the organization that you’re here to stay.”