Rajko Lekic

Depth to be tested as Revs host Rapids

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Back in the Northeast after suffering a shutout loss to Chivas USA last weekend at The Home Depot Center, the New England Revolution will look to get back on track at home this weekend when the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids visit Gillette Stadium.

Comcast SportsNet New England will televise the match, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 7. The game will be joined in progress at 8 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet following the conclusion of Boston Celtics’ pregame coverage. Simultaneously, CSN will carry the entire game on alternate channels starting at 7:30 p.m. (CLICK HERE FOR A LISTING OF ALTERNATE CHANNELS), while 98.5 The Sports Hub will have the live radio call.

This will be the Revolution’s first meeting with the Rapids since the Western Conference club won MLS Cup 2010 with a 2-1 extra-time victory over FC Dallas.

Current Form: Revs look to rebound at home; Rapids on the upswing following midweek win

Major League Soccer teams located on either coast are winless (0-11-9) when traveling across the country this season, and the Revs (2-3-3, 9 pts.) contributed to that telling statistic last weekend with a 3-0 loss at the hands of Chivas USA. Alejando Moreno was the catalyst for the Goats, scoring the home side’s third goal after assisting on earlier strikes by Nick LaBrocca and Marcos Mondaini.

While Revolution head coach Steve Nicol referred to the setback as a “nightmare game,” he’s confident his side won’t be dwelling on the result come Saturday night.

“We can’t go overboard,” Nicol said. “When we do well, we don’t get carried away. When we put in a performance the way we did (against Chivas USA), we’ll certainly look at it, but we’re not going to hang [our heads].”

The Rapids (4-3-1, 13 pts.) arrived in Foxborough on Thursday following a midweek win over the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium. Jamie Smith and Scott Palguta scored for Colorado, which erased a late deficit to snap a four-game (0-3-1) winless streak and rise to second place in the Western Conference standings.

Past Meetings: New England winless against Colorado since 2007

No team has given the Revs more trouble in recent years than the Rapids, who’ve gone 18-11-7 in the all-time regular-season series with New England.

The Revs haven’t beaten the Rapids since a 1-0 win on Sept. 29, 2007, going 0-3-3 in six meetings with their Western Conference opponents since the start of the 2008 campaign. Colorado swept the season series last year, claiming a 2-1 win at Gillette Stadium in late April before rolling to a convincing 3-0 win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in mid-September.

Injury Report: Both teams missing key players this weekend

New England will have to cope without the services of at least two probable starters this weekend, as both Didier Domi (L quad strain) and Marko Perovic (L knee sprain) have been ruled out because of their respective injuries. Chris Tierney and Darrius Barnes are the likeliest candidates to deputize for Domi at left back, while Kenny Mansally occupied the left wing with Perovic unavailable last weekend.

Franco Coria (L knee sprain) will be evaluated prior to the match, with Ryan Cochrane ready to step in and partner A.J. Soares in central defense if necessary. Pat Phelan seems unlikely to feature as he recovers from a shin contusion, while goalkeeper Matt Reis looks set to return after recovering from a left shoulder sprain.

The Rapids will be similarly shorthanded on Saturday night, most notably at the forward position. Both Conor Casey (L hamstring strain) and Omar Cummings (ankle sprain) will be unavailable to Colorado head coach Gary Smith, who’ll likely choose his strikers from the trio of Andre Akpan, Quincy Amarikwa and Caleb Folan.

Also of note is the absence of Brian Mullan, who’s in the midst of serving a 10-game suspension for his challenge which broke the leg of Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani.

Key Matchup: New England’s central midfielders vs. Colorado’s central midfielders

Physicality will be a key component of Saturday night’s game, which features two teams unafraid to mix things up. The struggle will begin and end in midfield, where Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph will be tasked with limiting the influence of Pablo Mastroeni and former teammate Jeff Larentowicz.

“It’s going to be a battle,” said Joseph. “Jeff’s done great for himself going [to Colorado] and proving himself as one of the best midfielders in the league. He and Pablo have a great combination and I think the sky’s the limit for those two once they stay healthy.

“But as I said, it’s all about us and what we do on Saturday,” he continued. “If we come out ready to play, I think we’re going to make it a (tough) night for those two in the middle.”

Final Thoughts: Rapids provide Revs with a chance at redemption

Saturday night’s meeting with the Rapids presents a unique opportunity to the Revs, who can erase the memory of last weekend’s loss to Chivas USA with a solid performance at Gillette Stadium.

“Obviously [the Chivas USA loss] wasn’t our best performance away,” said Tierney. “At home, in front of our fans, we want to put things right. I think three points against the defending champs would be a good way to do it.”