DENVER – The New England Revolution faces a Western Conference opponent for the final time this regular season on Wednesday night when the club visits the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Kickoff between the Revs (6-6-6, 24 pts.) and Rapids (7-7-6, 27 pts.) is set for 9 p.m. ET and the game will be covered regionally by both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Immediately prior to Wednesday night’s match at 8:30 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet will debut its midseason “State of the Revs” update, featuring a look at the first half of the 2013 campaign and key storylines heading into the second half of the season. More details are available HERE.
Current Form: Both sides on the brink of playoff places as second half gets underway
Saturday night’s frustrating loss to the Houston Dynamo leaves the Revolution in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings, now five points back of the Dynamo for the fifth and final playoff spot. Although it took a pair of stunning long-range goals from Adam Moffat to finally break down New England’s vaunted defense, the Revs weren’t happy with their overall performance, particularly through a disjointed opening 45 minutes.
“I don’t think the first half was good enough for either team, really,” said Kelyn Rowe. “But for us, we want to start well, we want to pressure. It’s not something we did well in the first half; we couldn’t get the ball down and play. It wasn’t until the second half that we could, and that’s when we had to chase the game, so we don’t want that.”
The Rapids occupy a similar spot in the Western Conference, currently perched in sixth place, three points back of the fifth-place LA Galaxy. Oscar Pareja’s side hasn’t played a regular-season match since July 7 – most recently facing Mexico’s Santos Laguna in a friendly last Friday night – but the Rapids are 2-0-1 in their last three league contests.
Past Meetings: Revs broke Rapids hex at home last year; now look to do same on the road
The Revs and Rapids last met 14 months ago at Gillette Stadium where New England’s come-from-behind, 2-1 victory snapped an eight-game winless run against Colorado.
But the sides haven’t met at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in almost two years and the Revs will be looking to end another hex in the Centennial State, where they’re just 3-12-4 all-time and haven’t won since June 2002.
As a point of reference, the last time the Revs left Colorado with three points they had yet to reach an MLS Cup final and the goals in their 2-1 victory were scored by Taylor Twellman and Brian Kamler.
Injury Report: Alston available for selection three months after leukemia diagnosis
Just three months after being diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, Kevin Alston was removed from the Disabled List on Monday and is now available for selection for the first time since March 30. Alston is part of the Revolution’s travel party for the current two-game trip through Colorado and Columbus.
However, the Revs will be without a pair of forwards on Wednesday night as Juan Agudelo remains sidelined by a right knee sprain and Dimitry Imbongo will serve a one-game suspension following his red card last weekend against the Dynamo. That leaves Chad Barrett and Jerry Bengtson as the likeliest candidates to play up top, particularly with Saer Sene listed as questionable with a right hip contusion.
Ecuadorian defender Diego Calderon is unavailable for the Rapids as he continues to recover from right knee surgery, while rookie defender Kory Kindle (L ankle sprain) and Argentine playmaker Martin Rivero (L quad strain) are both listed as questionable.
Final Thoughts: Revs need to start strong to avoid chasing the game at altitude
“I think the fight’s going to be the most important thing about this game,” said rookie defender Andrew Farrell. “I think it’s going to be within the first 15-30 minutes where this game is going to be decided. Whichever team starts best and whichever team scores first I think is going to get the points. Obviously we’re both trying to fight to get into the playoff positions, so it’s another important game for us.”