FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution plays the first of three home games in a hectic eight-day stretch on Wednesday, Aug. 29, when the club hosts its final Western Conference opponent of the 2012 regular season, Chivas USA.
Kickoff from Gillette Stadium between the Revs (6-14-5, 23 pts.) and Chivas USA (7-10-6, 27 pts.) is set for 8 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet, while 98.5 The Sports Hub will handle the radio call.
Current Form: Despite offensive outbursts, both sides looking to snap out of recent slumps
After scoring just three total goals in their previous seven matches, the Revs busted out offensively to match that total this past weekend in Ohio, but it wasn’t enough to end their recent slide as they suffered a 4-3 loss to the Columbus Crew. The loss extended the Revolution’s winless run to eight games (0-7-1) and anything short of victory against Chivas USA would see the Revs match the record for longest winless run in club history.
“We do some good things and unfortunately we do some bad things to kind of take away from the good things that we do,” said Benny Feilhaber, who picked up his second assist of the season at Crew Stadium. “We’ve got to make sure we can put a 90-minute performance together. [We need to score] goals like we did last game, but we can’t give up four goals in one game. We can’t expect to win when we do.”
Chivas USA – and former Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph – had a similar experience in its last match, suffering a 6-2 loss to Seattle Sounders FC. It was just the third time this season the Goats managed more than one goal in a game, but they conceded a club-record six goals at the other end and subsequently saw their winless run extended to three games (0-2-1).
Past Meetings: Revs aiming to end string of five straight losses to Chivas USA
Chivas USA has been a bogey team for the Revolution in recent years, as the Revs have suffered five straight losses to the Goats dating back to 2009. Prior to the current stretch, the Revs comfortably had the upper hand in the series with a record of 5-2-2.
Four of those recent losses have been via shutout, a string only snapped in the most recent meeting when Chivas USA claimed a 3-2 victory in Foxborough last August. Despite the loss it was a memorable night for Diego Fagundez, who marked his MLS debut by drawing a penalty kick – converted by Joseph – and scoring his first professional goal.
Injury Report: Nguyen back in the fold for Revs; Chivas USA likely missing assist leader
Last weekend at Crew Stadium, Lee Nguyen overcame a left ankle sprain to continue his streak of having appeared in every Revolution game this season, coming off the bench to score his fifth goal of the campaign from the penalty spot. While Nguyen is still listed as probable on Tuesday’s injury report, the midfielder didn’t appear to be hampered by the ailment during his 28-minute stint against the Crew.
The news isn’t as positive for former Chivas USA midfielder Blair Gavin – acquired in the trade which sent Joseph to the West Coast on Aug. 1 – who is unlikely to face his former club as he continues to recover from left hamstring tightness.
Ryan Smith has seen limited action with Chivas USA this season, making just 15 appearances (eight starts), but the former Sporting Kansas City midfielder has made his mark with a team-leading three assists. Smith is unlikely to add to that total on Wednesday night, however, as the Englishman was most recently listed as doubtful with a right hamstring strain.
Final Thoughts: Three straight home games provide perfect chance to get back on track
In their first nine home games, the Revs made Gillette Stadium one of the most difficult road venues in the league, compiling a record of 5-1-3 while averaging 1.78 goals per game. But they’ve stumbled in their past three matches in Foxborough, suffering a trio of 1-0 losses to mark the first time in club history the Revolution has been shut out in three consecutive home games.
With three more home games on the docket during the next eight days, the Revs have a chance to turn the tables and once again make use of their home-field advantage.
“You’ve got to protect your house,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “I know it’s simple. I know it’s a cliché. But there’s got to be pride in stepping on your field and there’s got to be pride every time you go out in front of your home crowd.”