MONTREAL – The New England Revolution closes out its 2012 season on Saturday, Oct. 27, when the club visits the Montreal Impact for a rare afternoon meeting at Stade Saputo.
The Revs (8-17-8, 32 pts.) and Impact (12-15-6, 42 pts.) will kick off at 2 p.m., with Comcast SportsNet New England televising the game regionally and 98.5 The Sports Hub carrying the radio call.
Current Form: Revs hoping to close season with second straight win; Impact winless in five
New England has the chance to close the campaign with back-to-back wins following an impressive 1-0 victory over the playoff-bound Chicago Fire in last weekend’s home finale at Gillette Stadium. Although the Revs are guaranteed to finish ninth in the Eastern Conference – regardless of Saturday’s result – three more points in the season finale at Stade Saputo would provide another boost as the club begins to look toward 2013.
“I think every season, whether you’re in the playoffs or not, you want to end on a positive note,” said defender Darrius Barnes. “We got a good result at home in front of our fans in the home finale [last] weekend and we want to do the same thing to end the season.”
The task is anything but simple, however, as the Impact has been one of the league’s strongest home teams in its inaugural MLS season. Montreal is an impressive 10-3-3 at home and hasn’t lost at Stade Saputo since a 3-1 setback to Sporting Kansas City back on July 4. But Jesse March’s side has stumbled a bit recently, going winless (0-2-3) in its last five league matches, including low-scoring draws in the past three.
Past Meetings: Impact clinched season series with victories in first two matches
Impact midfielder Sanna Nyassi – twin brother of Revolution midfielder Sainey – has been a thorn in New England’s side this season. The Gambian speedster was vital in Montreal’s 2-1 win over the Revs on July 18 at Stade Saputo, drawing an early penalty kick before notching the game winner midway through the second half. Nyassi stole the show again in the Impact’s 1-0 win on Aug. 12 at Gillette Stadium, scoring the only goal with a fantastic individual effort in the 61st minute.
Luckily for the Revs, they won’t have to worry about Nyassi’s influence on Saturday as he’ll be forced to serve a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Injury Report: McCarthy, Toja both doubtful for New England; Felipe sidelined for Montreal
In addition to long-term injury victims Flo Lechner (R MCL sprain), Lee Nguyen (R shoulder surgery) and Saer Sene (L ACL surgery), the Revs are also likely to be without Stephen McCarthy (concussive-like symptoms) and Juan Toja (patella femoral pain) for Saturday’s season finale. Both are listed as doubtful and with McCarthy in particular, the approach is one of caution.
“He’s progressing well,” head coach Jay Heaps said of his converted center back. “We’re still being cautious. We’re not letting him head the ball yet, but he’s getting there. He moves well and he’s feeling good, so he’s passing every little step along the way.”
Besides the suspended Nyassi, the Impact will also be without influential central midfielder Felipe. The young Brazilian has been Montreal’s offensive catalyst with four goals and a team-leading 10 assists this season, but he’s currently sidelined following surgery to repair a sports hernia.
Final Thoughts: Traveling support to provide boost in enemy territory
“Fans anywhere are always a help to us,” said Ryan Guy, referencing the 60-plus traveling supporters expected to cheer on the Revolution at Stade Saputo. “Any little extra support that we can get (is important), especially at the end of the season after a tough one. I’m just glad there’s anyone still following us right now after how the year’s gone. But I think that’s the Revs for you. That’s the supporter following. They’re diehards and we love that.”