MONTREAL – The New England Revolution begins a stretch of three straight road games on Wednesday night at Stade Saputo where the club will visit the expansion Montreal Impact for the first time.
The Revs (6-8-4, 22 pts.) and Impact (6-12-3, 21 pts.) – separated by just one point in the Eastern Conference standings – will kick off at 8 p.m. in the midweek showdown. Comcast SportsNet New England will televise the game regionally, while 98.5 The Sports Hub will carry the game on the radio.
Current Form: Both sides looking to rebound from disappointing losses this past weekend
Luis Silva’s eighth-minute goal doomed the Revs to their first defeat since May 26 as they saw their five-game unbeaten run come to an end with a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. An early injury to Stephen McCarthy was an unexpected setback for the Revs and despite holding the upper hand in both possession and shots, they couldn’t break through TFC’s resolute backline for an equalizer.
“You can’t come out and start slow, and unfortunately that’s kind of what we did,” said forward Blake Brettschneider. “I think [Toronto] had a little luck with the goal, but it’s just got to be better from us all around. It’s got to be tighter in the back and we’ve got to do a better job of holding the ball up top, creating chances and ultimately finishing chances.”
Montreal suffered its fourth loss in the past five games in heartbreaking fashion, conceding a stoppage-time winner in a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night at PPL Park. The Impact was moments away from picking up a valuable road point when an own goal brought the visitors level in the 90th minute, but Union defender Carlos Valdes struck back almost immediately to send Montreal to its league-leading 12th loss of the season.
Past Meetings: Revs and Impact set for inaugural showdown at Stade Saputo
Wednesday night’s meeting will be the first-ever between the Revs and Impact after the Canadian club became Major League Soccer’s 19th team at the beginning of the current season. The sides will meet twice more during the 2012 campaign; on August 12 at Gillette Stadium and a return engagement at Stade Saputo in the regular-season finale on Oct. 27.
The Revs have had much success in their first meetings with expansion sides in recent years, going 5-0-4 in nine such contests since 2005. Last year New England picked up a pair of 1-1 draws in the club’s inaugural showdowns with the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Injury Report: Bengtson departs for Olympics; McCarthy being evaluated “hour-by-hour”
After scoring one goal in a pair of substitute appearances to start his MLS career, Honduran forward Jerry Bengtson is expected to miss at least the next three games while participating in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The 25-year-old striker departed on Monday to meet up with the Honduran Olympic squad ahead of his country’s group games against Morocco (July 26), Spain (July 29) and Japan (Aug. 1).
Meanwhile, McCarthy’s status is being evaluated “hour-by-hour” according to Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. The converted center back was removed just minutes into Saturday’s loss to Toronto FC after experiencing concussion-like symptoms following a clash of heads with TFC forward Ryan Johnson.
“It’s a little too early to tell,” Heaps said of McCarthy’s status on Monday. “He sounded good yesterday and he’s in today. We’re just kind of following the right procedures and protocol … We just don’t want to force anything. We just want to see how his body reacts. It’s reacted really well, but that’s up to the doctors and our training staff.”
Montreal is likely to be missing four players on Wednesday night, all of them key contributors. Defenders Matteo Ferrari (R quad strain) and Nelson Rivas (abdomen) have both been sidelined recently, along with forwards Bernardo Corradi (L knee ACL tear) and Andrew Wenger (L hamstring strain), a duo which has combined to score 25 percent of the Impact’s goals this season.
Key Player: Revolution forward Saer Sene
Montreal’s open style has been evident in recent weeks as there have been at least three goals scored in each of the Impact’s last 10 league games, including four matches with four-plus goals. As a result, Montreal is sixth in the league in goals scored (28) but last in goals allowed (38) and the club hasn’t recorded a shutout in its last 11 games.
With the Impact always looking to press forward, there should be chances at the other end for Revolution leading scorer Saer Sene, who has just one goal in his last six games after scoring four times in a three-game span in May.
“That’s kind of where we would like to see the game go, to be honest with you,” Heaps said of the open style. “That’s what we want to get into. We like to throw punches and I think they like to throw punches.”
Final Thoughts: Revs looking to improve upon 1-6-1 record away from home
“We really have to come in with the same mentality that we have at home, because we’ve been pretty good at home,” said Benny Feilhaber. “We’ve got to get some points on the road and it can’t be a tie every fifth game or whatever. We really need to get some points and starting in Montreal, I know that’s going to be a huge game for us to start off this three-game road trip.”