FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution aims to bounce back from its first loss in almost two months when the club hosts the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff between the Eastern Conference-leading Revs (7-4-2, 23 pts.) and seventh-place Red Bulls (3-5-6, 15 pts.) is scheduled for 5 p.m., with both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub covering the action.
This will be the final regular-season game for both sides before MLS takes an extended, league-wide break during the group stage of the FIFA World Cup.
Current Form: Revs aim for return to their winning ways; Red Bulls winless in four
New England’s five-game winning streak and seven-game unbeaten run both came to an inevitable end last weekend in Montreal, where the Revolution suffered a 2-0 loss to the Impact. It was the first time the Revs had been shut out since early April as they struggled to break down Montreal’s compact defensive shape.
“There are a lot of different scenarios that we will have to go over,” said Teal Bunbury. “Different teams will show us different things and it’s up to us to kind of manage those things and be sharp mentally when it comes time in the game to execute.”
The Red Bulls should arrive in Foxborough well-rested after having a bye on the schedule last weekend, most recently playing in Kansas City on May 27. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his league-leading 11th goal in that match to help the Red Bulls snap a three-game losing streak with a 1-1 draw against Sporting KC.
Past Meetings: Decade-long unbeaten run on the line as Revs host Red Bulls
The last time the Revolution lost a regular-season home game to the club formerly known as the MetroStars, Steve Nicol had just been named interim head coach and Taylor Twellman was a first-year scoring sensation.
Since suffering a 2-0 loss on June 29, 2002 – the first-ever meeting between the Revs and then-MetroStars at Gillette Stadium – New England has gone 11-0-6 in 17 regular-season meetings with New York in Foxborough. Draws have been more prevalent in recent years, however, as three of the last four meetings at Gillette Stadium have ended with the teams all square.
Home-field advantage has actually played a major role on both sides of this rivalry; neither side has won away from home in this series since the Revs claimed a 1-0 win at Giants Stadium on July 14, 2007.
Injury Report: Revs enter weekend relatively healthy; Red Bulls missing a few key pieces
Kelyn Rowe (hamstring) returned to the Revolution’s starting lineup last weekend in Montreal and reported no ill effects, adding yet another weapon to New England’s already-dynamic attack. He’s joined in the “now-healthy” category by Jose Goncalves, who was in the starting lineup for the second straight weekend at Stade Saputo.
Jay Heaps won’t have an entirely full complement of players available on Sunday evening, however, as forward Jerry Bengtson is currently on World Cup duty with Honduras and Shalrie Joseph continues to recover from a strained calf. Also dealing with a calf injury is Charlie Davies, who’s listed as questionable.
The Red Bulls will most certainly be shorthanded this weekend, although to what extent is not quite clear. Tim Cahill (Australia) and Roy Miller (Costa Rica) are both preparing for the World Cup with their respective national teams, while Dax McCarty has been ruled out of Sunday’s game with a knee injury.
New York head coach Mike Petke has also reiterated throughout the week that the club would be cautious with veterans Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave, who typically don’t play on artificial surfaces.
Final Thoughts: Process remains the same as Revs keep an even keel following loss
“I think it’s important to keep the same locker room that we had; don’t get too high on all the wins and don’t get too low on yourself after a loss,” said Andrew Farrell. “I think the coaches have done a good job at doing that and the veteran guys have been keeping everybody level-headed. We’re just excited to have another opportunity to get points on the weekend.”