FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution begins a critical stretch of seven home games in seven weeks on Saturday night when the Columbus Crew visits Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., with both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub covering the action.
Current Form: Struggling Revs to play seven of nine at home; Crew recently ended winless run
The Revs spent the entirety of last week on the road, dropping both ends of a two-game trip which saw them visit both the LA Galaxy (5-1 loss) and FC Dallas (2-0 loss). That pair of setbacks saw the Revolution’s losing streak hit seven games in league play, following up the club’s five-game winning streak through April and May.
Head coach Jay Heaps and his players were left gutted by the results in LA and Dallas, but they were satisfied with the effort and the energy exerted in the second leg of the trip at Toyota Stadium. With that as a baseline, they’ll be looking to take the next step this weekend when the Crew visits Foxborough.
“I feel like at times against Dallas – for a good portion of the game – we moved the ball well and we possessed it well, we were just lacking a little creativity and that final ball in the attacking third,” said Darrius Barnes. “We just haven’t had that flow that we had towards the beginning of the season in the attacking third.
“I feel like it’s going to come. We’re going to create some chances and we’re going to bury one. I feel like once we do that, we’ll kind of get our rhythm.”
Columbus knows a thing or two about snapping skids, having ended a seven-game winless run (0-3-4) with last weekend’s 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact. Under the guidance of new head coach Gregg Berhalter, Columbus started the season with three straight victories but has since fallen off, going 2-7-8 since that strong start.
“Columbus is a good team,” said Heaps. “I think they’ve got some good players and they know how to get some results on the road. So we’re going to have to be mindful of what they do well and the challenges they pose.”
Past Meetings: Revs swept three-game series in 2013, including playoff-clinching triumph
Two of New England’s most memorable victories in 2013 came at the expense of Columbus as the Revs won both ends of a home-and-home with the Crew to close the regular season, helping to secure the Revolution’s first playoff spot in four years.
Overall the Revs have won the past four meetings with the Crew dating back to their final matchup in 2012, a stretch which includes two wins each in Foxborough and Columbus.
Injury Report: Dorman still out, but Revs regain services of Goncalves, Sene and Soares
Andy Dorman will miss his third straight game this weekend with the knee injury which is expected to sideline him until at least mid-September, but the Revs will regain the services of three potentially key players.
A.J. Soares will be available for selection after serving a one-game suspension last weekend in Dallas, while fellow center back Jose Goncalves has been removed from the injury report after missing the FCD loss with hamstring tightness. Also no longer on the injury report is Saer Sene, who missed both legs of last week’s road trip while dealing with right quad tightness.
Columbus, meanwhile, is dealing with a slew of injuries, including three players (Kingsley “Fifi” Baiden, Matt Wiet and Josh Williams) who are on either the Disabled List or Season-Ending IR.
Also sidelined for the Crew this weekend are the attacking duo of Jairo Arrieta (hamstring) and Hector Jimenez (knee), while Bernardo Anor (hamstring) and Justin Meram (hamstring) are both listed as questionable.
Final Thoughts: Barnes says Revs need to “show some character” to end slide
“When you go through a streak like this, it kind of wears and tears on your confidence a little bit,” said Barnes. “You don’t know if you’re as good a team as you thought you were, especially after being on both ends – having a five-game winning streak and now on a seven-game losing streak. Right now we’ve seen it all, so we just have to stay grounded and get back to what we were doing to win those games.
“In this league, we knew something like this was possible. Teams come to play night-in and night-out; you can’t take any nights off. We just have to get back to our identity. We’ve got to show some character and show what we’re made of to get through this.”