FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The wait is over.
It’s been almost five months since the New England Revolution last took the field at Gillette Stadium, but MLS action will finally return to Foxborough on Saturday afternoon when the Revs host Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the 2014 home opener.
Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m., with both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub carrying the game.
Current Form: Revs happy to be home after pair of difficult road trips; Whitecaps unbeaten
The Revs (0-2-0, 0 pts.) head into Saturday’s home opener still in search of their first goal and win of the 2014 season after suffering a pair of shutout losses to begin the campaign. Last weekend at PPL Park it was Sebastien Le Toux’s first-half goal which sank the Revs in a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union.
Although goalless through two matches, there hasn’t been a lack of chances for the Revolution. Both A.J. Soares and Diego Fagundez hit the woodwork at BBVA Compass Stadium (where Jerry Bengtson also missed from close range), while Fagundez had a point-blank effort stopped by Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath last weekend.
“It’s been one of those where the balls have been there and just haven’t been finished,” said Kelyn Rowe. “I think Jerry’s had a couple chances. Diego had his chance where I think nine times out of 10 he finishes it. It’s one of those where, it’s almost like a curse. You need to get that one goal, then all of a sudden five and six come through in between games.”
The Whitecaps (1-0-1, 4 pts.) found their goal-scoring form on the opening weekend, striking four times in a 4-1 win over the defending Supporters Shield champion New York Red Bulls. They then followed that up with a 1-1 draw at Chivas USA last weekend – aided by a man advantage for almost 80 minutes – to make it an unbeaten start through Carl Robinson’s first two matches in charge.
“I think they’ve added some very good players,” head coach Jay Heaps said of the Whitecaps. “I think (Matias) Laba is an excellent acquisition for them and a player that really is good for this league. But also attacking players in (Pedro) Morales and (Sebastian) Fernandez, two players that have already scored goals for them, and not just scored goals, but impacted how they play.”
Past Meetings: High-scoring history between the Revs and Whitecaps
New England and Vancouver have combined for 12 goals in the past two meetings; that after combining for just three goals in the first two meetings back in 2011. The lone meeting in 2013 was a seven-goal thriller at BC Place as the Revs raced out to an early 2-0 lead, only for the Whitecaps to claw back for a 4-3 victory after Revolution defender Andrew Farrell was issued a straight red card midway through the first half.
It’s been nothing but success for the Revs when facing the Whitecaps at Gillette Stadium, however, claiming victory in both previous matchups in Foxborough. Most recently it was one-time Vancouver midfielder Lee Nguyen stealing the show with a two-goal, one-assist performance in a 4-1 win over his former club.
Injury Report: Rowe hopes to return on Saturday; DeMerit being rested by Vancouver
Playmaking midfielder Kelyn Rowe stayed on the bench during last weekend’s loss to the Union while dealing with tightness in his right hamstring, but he returned to training this week and is hopeful he’ll be fit and available for Saturday’s home opener.
Kevin Alston, however, remains out with the right hamstring strain he suffered in the season opener.
Vancouver looks likely to regain the services of influential midfielder Russell Teibert (hamstring) and defender Johnny Leveron (concussion), but captain Jay DeMerit didn’t make the trip to New England as the 34-year-old center back is being rested.
Final Thoughts: Revs look to build momentum at home before heading back on the road
“I think it’s something that we’re missing is the momentum,” said Rowe. “We’ve had two losses in a row and it’s obviously unfortunate, but looking back at last year, I think we had a run where we didn’t score in five games. So we’re looking just to break that curse and once that’s broken, I think you’ll see a lot more goals, a lot more wins and a lot more points.”