FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A spot in the quarterfinal round of the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be on the line Wednesday night when the New England Revolution hosts the New York Red Bulls in a fourth-round meeting at Harvard University’s Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium.
The Revolution’s first-ever match in Boston has sold out the 2,500-seat venue, but revolutionsoccer.net will stream the match live beginning at 7:15 p.m., with veteran play-by-play man Brad Feldman and former Revs assistant coach Paul Mariner handling the call. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Current Form: Both sides reached this stage with convincing wins over lower division clubs
New England kicked off its Open Cup campaign on the road two weeks ago with a 5-1 victory over the affiliate Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO). Kelyn Rowe led the way offensively with two goals and one assist, while Chad Barrett, Jerry Bengtson and Andy Dorman also scored on a rain-soaked night in western New York.
That victory over the Rhinos is part of the Revolution’s current six-game unbeaten run (4-0-2) in all competitions, a streak which was extended this past weekend in a 0-0 draw with D.C. United. While the Revs were thrilled to stretch their club-record shutout streak to 395 minutes, they were disappointed not to capture the full three points.
“I thought our final pass wasn’t there,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “I still think we had good buildup until the final third. That was something in the past we hadn’t had. We worked on it all week and I thought that was actually pretty good where we had some good spacing. But in the final third, we want to be a little bit better with the final pass.”
New York is in the midst of a three-week break from league play, having last played on June 1 and not returning to regular-season action until June 23. In their last match the Red Bulls suffered a 2-1 home loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, snapping an eight-game unbeaten run (6-0-2) in all competitions.
The Red Bulls advanced past Reading United AC (PDL) in the third round of the Open Cup on May 29, using second-half goals from Fabian Espindola and Lloyd Sam to claim a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Past Meetings: Revs and Red Bulls already set for third meeting of 2013
Familiar foes are set to do battle on Wednesday night as the Revs and Red Bulls will meet for the third time this year; the fifth time if you count a pair of preseason matches.
An early barrage of goals set the tone in New York’s 4-1 win over New England on April 20 at Red Bull Arena, while the Revs got a goal from red-hot Diego Fagundez in a 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium just three weeks later.
These two sides have met twice before in the Open Cup, with the Red Bulls victorious on both occasions. New York needed extra time to advance past New England in 2003 before rolling to a 3-0 victory in 2010.
Injury Report: Both sides missing key players to international duty
With a cross-country trip to Vancouver set for Thursday afternoon, it’s expected that the Revs will rely on their depth on Wednesday night, much as they did in their victory over the Rhinos in the third round. But that doesn’t mean inexperience as some of the veterans who featured against Rochester include Darrius Barnes, Chad Barrett, Kalifa Cisse, Andy Dorman, Matt Reis, A.J. Soares and Chris Tierney.
“I think that’s what we wanted by design, but you can’t control that with injuries,” said Heaps. “But right now we feel that we have a really good group of players ready to play on Wednesday.”
That group will include Gabe Latigue and Tyler Polak – both recalled from Rochester – but will not include the injured duo of Donnie Smith (L hamstring strain) and Clyde Simms (R knee sprain) or Honduran forward Jerry Bengtson (international duty).
The Red Bulls will also be missing players to international duty as both Tim Cahill (Australia) and Roy Miller (Costa Rica) are currently representing their countries in World Cup qualifiers. Leading scorer Thierry Henry is also not expected to play as Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium features a FieldTurf playing surface.
Final Thoughts: Revs excited to play first-ever game in Boston
“It’s a perfect venue for an Open Cup game,” Soares said of Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium. “It’ll give a couple new people the chance to come out and watch, maybe some students or something who live in the city and can’t really make it out [to Foxborough]. It’s always good to broaden your fan base and hopefully we can put on a show for some people and score some goals.”