FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Boasting a league-best defensive record which includes three shutouts in five games, the New England Revolution will be back in action on Saturday night when the club visits the New York Red Bulls.
The Revs (1-2-2, 5 pts.) and Red Bulls (2-4-2, 8 pts.) will get underway at 7 p.m. from Red Bull Arena. Both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub will carry the game regionally.
Current Form: Revs looking to pull even with Red Bulls in Eastern Conference standings
Despite having played a league-low five games compared to New York’s league-high eight, the Revs have a chance on Saturday night to pull even with the Red Bulls in the standings.
In order to win, however, the Revs will have to put an end to their current scoreless run, which stands at a club-record 388 minutes entering the weekend. The Revolution hasn’t scored since a season-opening victory over the Chicago Fire, but the club has been buoyed by its defense, which has conceded a league-low two goals. The contrast was evident last weekend as the Revs battled Seattle Sounders FC to a 0-0 draw at CenturyLink Field.
“We got a point in a tough place, didn’t cave when we could’ve and really didn’t play a very good soccer game,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “We were not good enough offensively, but defensively we really put the work in and I think you’ve got to take that as a positive in some light and get better in the other.”
The Red Bulls have had mixed results early this season, typified by a pair of games within the past week. Goals from Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave earned New York a valuable 2-0 road win over D.C. United last Saturday, but the Red Bulls followed up with a 1-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.
Past Meetings: Revolution still in search of first result at Red Bull Arena
Three previous trips to Red Bull Arena have resulted in zero points for the Revs, who’ve been outscored 5-1 in a trio of losses since the venue opened three years ago. An additional trip to RBA for a U.S. Open Cup game in 2010 yielded a similar result.
New England’s struggles in Harrison have mirrored New York’s struggles in Foxborough, as the series has been dominated by home teams in recent years. In fact, the Revs own a 16-game home unbeaten streak against the Red Bulls dating back more than a decade.
Injury Report: Sene’s return provides spark to NE’s attack; Juninho suspended for NY
Saer Sene stepped off the bench and onto the field for a 16-minute appearance last weekend in Seattle, marking his long-awaited return from ACL surgery. Although the 26-year-old Frenchman is still short of full match fitness, even his brief substitute appearance provided a boost for the Revolution’s ailing attack.
“He brings so much to our team possession-wise, good holdup play, and he can get in behind,” said Clyde Simms. “He’s very fast, also good with his head, so he can beat you a bunch of different ways. We’re very excited.”
Sene’s return is even more important in the absence of fellow forward Chad Barrett, who remains sidelined by a hamstring strain. Scott Caldwell (R ankle sprain), Matt Reis (L knee irritation) and Juan Toja (L knee irritation) also find themselves on the injury report, all listed as questionable.
New York will be without the suspended Juninho – red carded late in the midweek loss to Sporting KC – while Olave’s status is questionable after limping off in the first half of that game with a left knee injury.
Final Thoughts: Revs representing a region in wake of Boston Marathon tragedy
“Going forward, I think, we know what we have to do as a team in the locker room, but also on the field,” Heaps said. “We’re playing for a pretty strong nation and a pretty strong region. For me, being from this area, I’m very honored to be able to represent that type of courage and strength.”