FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution aims to get back in the win column on Sunday night when the club hosts the expansion Montreal Impact for the first time at Gillette Stadium.
The Revs (6-11-5, 23 pts.) and Impact (9-13-3, 30 pts.) will kick off at 7 p.m., and the match will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England and carried on the radio by 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Following the Revolution game, history will be made as Framingham native and diehard Revs fan Danny O’Connor will headline the first-ever boxing card at Gillette Stadium. For more information on the unique doubleheader, click HERE.
Current Form: Revs look to snap five-game winless skid; Impact aims to improve road form
The Revs were left disappointed by their performance in last weekend’s 1-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City, a result which extended the Revolution’s season-long winless run to five games (0-4-1). Head coach Jay Heaps has lamented his side’s inability to adapt to changing circumstances in recent matches, while the players are focused on correcting those mistakes down the stretch run.
“Situations like this are always tests for personalities, egos, chemistry and this has really been a struggle for us recently,” said Ryan Guy. “But it’s really nice on the other side to see the level of commitment that the guys are putting in right now. We know it’s a difficult patch that we’re going through and we are doing everything we possibly can to get through it. We see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now it’s just a matter of getting that performance in that pushes us that way.”
Montreal currently sits just five points outside the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, though with the benefit of having played more games than every other team in Major League Soccer. No team has been more dependent on home form than the Impact, which has won four straight games at Stade Saputo but has suffered five straight losses on the road.
Past Meetings: Montreal claimed victory in first-ever meeting just three weeks ago
Sunday night’s showdown will be just the second-ever meeting between the Revs and Impact and the first at Gillette Stadium. The sides met at Stade Saputo on July 18 and Montreal claimed a 2-1 victory as goals from Patrice Bernier and Sanna Nyassi overshadowed Lee Nguyen’s long-range blast.
Injury Report: Bengtson expected to be available; Alston and Soares both questionable
Forward Jerry Bengtson took a detour through his native Honduras to complete some necessary immigration paperwork on his way back from Olympic duty, but the 25-year-old is expected to arrive in Foxborough ahead of Sunday’s meeting with the Impact. Bengtson is expected to train with the Revs on Saturday and it will be up to Heaps to determine whether the Honduran goal-scoring hero is ready to feature.
“He’s had some adjustment time here, then he went away, so we want to get him in with the guys and get him some reps with both the first team and the second team just to see where he is,” said Heaps.
Defenders Kevin Alston and A.J. Soares both missed last weekend’s loss to Sporting KC with hamstring complaints but the duo is pressing to return against Montreal. Both trained to varying degrees throughout the week and both are listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.
Montreal received a mix of good news and bad news this week with regards to player availability. Forward Marco Di Vaio will be available to face the Revs after being cleared of wrongdoing in an Italian match-fixing case, but defender Nelson Rivas will be suspended for the next three games after head butting Philadelphia Union forward Antoine Hoppenot in last weekend’s victory.
Key Player: Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms
Clyde Simms has arguably been the Revolution’s most valuable player this season and the Revs will need his best qualities to shine through on Sunday night.
Montreal is led by the dynamic central midfield pairing of Bernier and Felipe, a duo which has combined for 10 goals and 14 assists this season. Simms’ calming presence and ability in possession will be crucial as the Revs aim to dictate the flow – and thus keep Montreal on its heels – while his intelligence to cut off passing lanes will be key in limiting the effectiveness of Bernier and Felipe going forward.
Final Thoughts: With 12 games remaining, Revs know time is of the essence
“Urgency is a key word right now,” said Heaps. “It’s important that we find a way to fight through the little things. We haven’t done it yet this year and we’re still waiting. We keep saying is it going to be next week, is it going to be next week? Well, there’s no more next week. It’s now. The time is upon us and key guys have to step up now and hold everyone accountable.”