PORTLAND, Ore. – Fresh off an important victory last weekend at Gillette Stadium, the New England Revolution returns to action on Thursday night at Jeld-Wen Field, where the Revs will visit the red-hot Portland Timbers.
Kickoff between the Revs (2-3-2, 8 pts.) and Timbers (3-1-4, 13 pts.) is set for 10:30 p.m. ET and the match will be available regionally on both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: New-look setup gets Revs off the mark; Timbers unbeaten in six
With Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe thriving in central playmaking roles the Revolution snapped out of its offensive funk last weekend in a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union. Nguyen and Rowe combined to set up Diego Fagundez’s game winner in the 61st minute before Nguyen tacked on a second 10 minutes later, while goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth helped keep New England’s fourth clean sheet through seven matches.
“That was exactly what we were looking to do; be dangerous on the attack, get chances and finish those chances,” said Ryan Guy, who played on the left wing. “I think we probably could’ve finished a few more than we did, but the goals that we did score were quality goals … They were from the run of play, from some good passages of play and it felt like we kind of broke the seal, which we’ve been looking to do for awhile now.”
Portland also secured an important victory last Saturday night as the Timbers went on the road to claim a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City. Twice the Timbers fell behind in the first half but got back on level terms before the break before Rodney Wallace clinched a second-half winner to run Portland’s unbeaten streak to six games (3-0-3).
Past Meetings: Sene’s goal after 28 seconds lifted Revs in lone 2012 matchup
The Revs and Timbers have met just three times heading into Thursday night’s game and have split those three meetings (1-1-1), with both teams picking up victories at home.
Saer Sene scored the eighth-fastest goal in MLS history after just 28 seconds to lift the Revs to a 1-0 victory in the only meeting between the two teams last year at Gillette Stadium, but the Revs suffered a 3-0 loss in their only previous visit to Jeld-Wen Field back in Sept. 2011.
Injury Report: Revolution’s backline depth to be tested with quartet unavailable
The Revs have been hit hard by injury and suspension in recent days, with the backline particularly affected. Presumed first-choice starters Kevin Alston (Disabled List/illness), Andrew Farrell (L knee contusion) and A.J. Soares (R hamstring strain) are all out for Thursday night’s meeting with Portland, while Chris Tierney – who has played left back in Alston’s absence – will be unavailable while serving a suspension.
With those four ruled out, the Revs are left with just three natural defenders – Darrius Barnes, Jose Goncalves and Stephen McCarthy – on the active roster, although Bilal Duckett has been recalled from his loan with the Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO) to provide additional cover.
“This is why you have depth,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “If there’s an injury here or there, you’ve got to make sure that the guys are ready to go.”
Midfielders Clyde Simms (concussion) and Donnie Smith (L groin strain) have also been ruled out for Thursday night, while forward Chad Barrett (L hamstring strain) and goalkeeper Matt Reis (L knee irritation) are both questionable.
Portland, meanwhile, will be without Bright Dike (L ACL surgery), David Horst (R tibia plateau surgery) and Brent Richards (L ACL surgery) on Thursday night, although only Horst has appeared in a game this season.
Final Thoughts: Revs eager to get back on the field after strong performance vs. Union
“It’s a great test,” Guy said of the trip to Portland. “I think we’re all excited after this win (over Philadelphia). I think now we really want a good test to see if this was a fluke or something that we can continue to run with. I think we’re all confident that this is something that can stick and we can get a little bit of steam under our belts, get going and continue to score some goals and get points.”