Saturday night’s home finale pits Revs against Fire

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Seven months after hosting the Portland Timbers in the 2012 home opener, the New England Revolution closes out its 17-game home schedule on Saturday, Oct. 20, when the Chicago Fire visits Gillette Stadium.

A plethora of activities surround Saturday night’s home finale, including the annual Fan Appreciation Night, High School Night and Breast Cancer Awareness promotions. The Revs will also announce their annual end-of-season awards (Most Valuable Player, Best Defender and Humanitarian of the Year) prior to kickoff.

The Revs (7-17-8, 29 pts.) and Fire (17-10-5, 56 pts.) will get underway at 7:30 p.m., and the match will be televised on Comcast SportsNet alternate channels (full channel listing HERE). The radio call will be carried by 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Current Form: Revs aim to finish strong at home; Fire coming off impressive win in NY

New England comes off the bye weekend looking to reverse its recent form, which has seen the club shut out in its past two matches as part of a four-game (0-3-1) winless run. But the Revs have been better at home, going unbeaten (1-0-3) in their past four matches at Gillette Stadium. Having already guaranteed an improvement over last year’s sub-par home record, the Revs will be looking for one more victory in Foxborough on Saturday night.

“I wasn’t here last year, but just hearing from some of the guys, [the home form] got better,” said Clyde Simms. “I don’t think teams liked to come in here and play us this year. We were a tough team at home. We had some good wins. No one really came in here and dominated us. We feel like we controlled most of the games here and that’s a step in the right direction. We just have to translate that into three points next season.”

Chicago snapped an uncharacteristic two-game losing skid with a businesslike 2-0 victory on the road against the New York Red Bulls on Oct. 6, spurred on by a two-goal performance from Sherjill MacDonald. The result helped the Fire clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2009 and pushed Frank Klopas’ side to within three points of Sporting Kansas City at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

Past Meetings: Season series hinges on Saturday night’s rubber match

Saturday night will be the rubber match in the three-game season series between the Revs and Fire, who’ve split the first two meetings by holding serve at home. Benny Feilhaber and Kelyn Rowe each registered one goal and one assist in a 2-0 win for the Revs on June 2 at Gillette Stadium, while MacDonald and Chris Rolfe scored first-half goals to lift the Fire to a 2-1 victory on Aug. 18 at Toyota Park.

The Revs have the chance to win the season series with the Fire for the first time since 2005 after struggling mightily with one of their biggest rivals in recent years. In fact, New England’s triumph over Chicago in the last meeting at Gillette Stadium was the Revolution’s first win in the regular-season series since May 6, 2007, snapping a 10-game winless run.

Injury Report: Soares, Tierney and Toja expected to be available; Feilhaber suspended

A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney and Juan Toja are all listed as questionable with knee ailments entering the weekend, but the Revolution trio has been progressing throughout the week and all three are expected to be available for selection on Saturday night.

“It’s been a progression with each guy and [some] are probably further along than others, but the three of them should be available for Saturday with the progression they’re making,” said head coach Jay Heaps.

Both Soares and Toja appeared in the Revolution’s last match – a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Oct. 6 – but Tierney has missed the past four games and hasn’t started since Aug. 29. He’s been joined on the sidelines in recent weeks by Stephen McCarthy, who remains out with concussive-like symptoms.

The Revs will also be without Feilhaber, who’ll serve a one-game suspension after picking up a pair of yellow cards in the closing stages of that loss to Philadelphia.

Chicago will be dealing with a suspension, as well, with veteran forward Guillermo Franco serving the second half of a two-game ban stemming back to an incident on Oct. 3. Also missing for the Fire will be former Revolution defender Cory Gibbs (R knee meniscus repair) and midfielder Pavel Pardo (L calf tightness).

Final Thoughts: Simms expecting “playoff-type atmosphere” as rivals square off

“They’ll be treating it like a playoff game,” said Simms. “They’re fighting for playoff positioning and they’re only two games [away from] the playoffs, so I think it’ll be a playoff-type atmosphere. It’s supposed to be a big crowd and we’re fighting for each other, fighting for our fans and for our jobs, as well. I think it’ll be a good test for us.”