FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Looking to build upon last weekend’s big win in Houston, the New England Revolution returns to Gillette Stadium on Saturday night to begin a three-game homestand against Toronto FC.
New England (3-4-4, 13 pts.) and Toronto (1-6-4, 7 pts.) will get underway at 7:30 p.m., with regional coverage on both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub’s HD2 channel.
Current Form: Win over Dynamo propels Revs into homestand; TFC winless in nine
After a disappointing mini-homestand in which the Revolution earned just one point from two matches, the club bounced back with an impressive 2-0 win over the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium last weekend. Juan Agudelo made his Revolution debut and helped force a late own goal to seal the full three points, while Diego Fagundez stayed red-hot with his third goal in the last five games to stay atop the club’s scoring charts.
“If you’re not confident after a win like that, I don’t know what you need to do,” said Lee Nguyen, who completed 91 percent of his passes against the Dynamo. “Going into Houston and doing what we did, dominating how we did against a team who’s so strong at home, shows that we can go anywhere and play. Especially at home now, we’ve got to bring the same mentality, same spirit and go in against Toronto and do the same thing.”
Toronto FC has experienced early growing pains under first-year head coach Ryan Nelsen, going winless in its last nine games (0-5-4) and losing four straight entering the weekend. But despite frustrating results, TFC has battled in every game this season, with all six of the club’s losses coming by a single goal.
Past Meetings: Revs winless in last five meetings with Toronto FC
Although Toronto FC has never reached the MLS Cup Playoffs, the Canadian club has proven somewhat of a bogey team for the Revolution in recent years.
After going 4-1-3 in their first eight meetings with TFC, the Revs are now 0-2-3 in the last five games in the series, having not beaten Toronto since a 4-1 win in the 2010 home opener. Included in the recent run is TFC’s only victory at Gillette Stadium, a 1-0 triumph the last time these two teams met on July 17, 2012.
Injury Report: Changes afoot for Revs with Guy and McCarthy injured, Imbongo suspended
Three players who started in last weekend’s win over the Dynamo could miss Saturday night’s meeting with Toronto FC as both Ryan Guy (L calf strain) and Stephen McCarthy (L Achilles strain) have picked up injuries, while Dimitry Imbongo will serve a one-game suspension after being issued a red card at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The good news is the Revs have plenty of options up top – including recent debutant Agudelo – and defensively A.J. Soares may be ready to step back into the fold after missing five games with a strained hamstring. The third-year center back returned to training this week and although he’s still listed as questionable, head coach Jay Heaps is hoping Soares will be an option.
“The goal is (for Soares) to be available for this weekend,” Heaps said. “The question is how much we need to game test it, how much we need to train it to see the reactions.”
Toronto’s official injury report lists Richard Eckersley, Darel Russell and Stefan Frei as out with hamstring strains, while media reports out of Canada indicate that Danny Califf, Bobby Convey and Terry Dunfield will also be unavailable.
Perhaps TFC’s biggest absence, however, is forward Danny Koevermans, who is hoping to make his return from ACL surgery next weekend. Koevermans tore his ACL the last time these two teams met in Foxborough last July.
Final Thoughts: Heaps hopes to get offense rolling with balanced attack
“We want to be scoring more goals; our mindset is to score more goals,” said Heaps. “It’s not just one player or one position that needs to score goals; it’s an entire group that needs to score starting from the backline going forward.”