FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – This week the New England Revolution will host a pair of games against Eastern Conference opponents during a critical four-day stretch, beginning with a midweek matchup against Toronto FC on Wednesday, June 15.
Kickoff between the Revs (3-7-4, 13 pts.) and TFC (2-5-8, 14 pts.) is set for 8 p.m. at Gillette Stadium. The match will be televised live in high definition on Comcast SportsNet New England, while the radio call will be available on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s HD2 channel.
Current Form: Conference foes looking to snap skids, climb up East standings
Last Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls was familiar in the sense that it was the Revolution’s fourth straight loss by a one-goal margin. But Zak Boggs scored in the 54th minute to snap New England’s 601-minute streak without a goal from the run of play and a second-half switch to a 4-4-2 formation resulted in a series of quality scoring chances as the Revs searched for an equalizer.
While the Revs ultimately departed Red Bull Arena without any points to show for their efforts, they’ll be looking to replicate that evening’s second-half performance on Wednesday night against Toronto.
“It’s always good for the psyche when you’re making chances, pushing forward and putting the other team under pressure,” head coach Steve Nicol said after his side trained on Tuesday morning. “We have to make sure we take that into tomorrow. The only way we do that is right from the get-go, we get after it and make sure we’re working hard.”
For the second straight game, the Revs find themselves matched up against a team winless in its last six league matches. TFC hasn’t won since claiming a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo on May 7, going 0-2-4 in the past five weeks. The Reds will enter Gillette Stadium buoyed by their most recent result, however, as Alan Gordon’s second goal of the night deep into second-half stoppage time secured TFC a 2-2 draw with the league-leading LA Galaxy last weekend at The Home Depot Center.
“They’ll certainly be coming here with a wee skip in their step,” Nicol said. “We have to make sure we start the game and knock that out of them as quickly as possible.”
Past Meetings: Home-field advantage has made all the difference in New England – Toronto series
New England and Toronto have met just nine times since TFC entered the league as an expansion team in 2007, but the series has been heavily dependent on home-field advantage through its first four seasons.
While the Revs are winless (0-2-2) in four trips to BMO Field, they’re unbeaten (4-0-1) in five meetings with Toronto at Gillette Stadium. TFC’s most recent visit to Foxborough was for the Revolution’s 2010 home opener last April and the home side ran out 4-1 winners courtesy of a Zack Schilawski hat trick. It was the Revolution’s biggest win of the season and the only time last year the Revs scored as many as four goals in a game.
Injury Report: Dabo and Domi added to Revs’ injury list; TFC also shorthanded[inline_node:436793]
French duo Ousmane Dabo and Didier Domi both landed on the Revolution’s injury report early this week after starting last Friday night at Red Bull Arena. Dabo will miss Wednesday night’s meeting with Toronto after being forced off the field in the 20th minute of the loss to New York with a right quad strain, while Domi is listed as questionable after experiencing tightness in his right Achilles tendon during training.
The good news for the Revolution is that Benny Feilhaber has been upgraded to doubtful as he continues his recovery from a right ankle sprain. Feilhaber recently began jogging and this week joined his teammates for passing drills.
Toronto will be without defenders Nana Attakora (R quad strain) and Adrian Cann (R ACL tear), the latter of which will miss the rest of the season after sustaining his injury in training two weeks ago. Meanwhile, reports out of Toronto indicate that both Jacob Peterson and Tony Tchani missed training ahead of the trip to New England after the duo was subbed off in the first half of last weekend’s draw with the LA Galaxy because of injuries.
Key Players: Revolution wingers Zak Boggs and Chris Tierney
In their quest for goals, the Revs have placed a heavy emphasis on wing play in recent weeks as they’ve focused on getting the ball wide and serving crosses into the box. The approach worked last week at Red Bull Arena when Chris Tierney’s left-wing cross found opposite winger Boggs at the back post, before Boggs coolly dispatched his effort to give the Revs their first goal from the run of play since late April.
Whether Nicol opts for the 4-5-1 formation he’s used in recent weeks or switches to the 4-4-2 setup which sparked his side in the second half against New York, Boggs and Tierney will be depended upon to provide service into the box from their wide positions.
Final Thoughts: Securing points the singular focus during two-game home-stand
The Revs were encouraged by their second-half performance in last Friday night’s loss to the Red Bulls, but were ultimately left frustrated by the result as they slipped to eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
In hosting both teams directly ahead of them in the standings this week – Toronto and the Chicago Fire are tied for sixth place in the East with 14 points – the Revs have a chance to secure six points and begin their climb up the table.
“The most important thing in [this week’s] games is that we pick up some points,” said captain Shalrie Joseph. “Especially being at home, we’re definitely going to have to take the game to Toronto on Wednesday.”