FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Returning home after playing three straight games on the road, the New England Revolution looks to continue its winning ways on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium against Toronto FC.
The Revs (8-7-6, 30 pts.) and TFC (3-10-8, 17 pts.) will get underway at 7:30 p.m., with Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub carrying the game regionally.
Current Form: Consecutive wins have Revs climbing the table; TFC boosted by dramatic win
Back-to-back road wins over the Columbus Crew and D.C. United have the Revs on the ascent in the Eastern Conference standings, where they’ve climbed into a tie with the Houston Dynamo for the fifth and final playoff spot. But despite grinding out a crucial six points against Eastern Conference foes in their past two matches, head coach Jay Heaps knows the Revs need to be even better moving forward in order to make a playoff push.
“The last two games, we haven’t played particularly well,” said Heaps. “Actually, the last three games if you count [the loss to the Colorado Rapids]. I think we have to pick up the way we’re doing things. Knowing what Toronto’s going to do – and it’s changing week to week – is hard to predict, so we have to worry about ourselves.”
Toronto turned heads last weekend with a dramatic comeback victory over the Columbus Crew, snapping a six-game winless run in the process. Trailing 1-0 in the late stages, Jonathan Osorio equalized in the 87th minute before Andrew Wiedeman struck in the fourth minute of stoppage time to earn TFC a third win on the season.
Past Meetings: Revs hoping for repeat of 2-0 victory on May 25 at Gillette Stadium
Sunday night will mark Toronto FC’s second visit to Foxborough this season after the Revs claimed a 2-0 win over the Canadian side on May 25. Diego Fagundez scored early – part of a four-game goal-scoring streak for New England’s leading scorer – and Juan Agudelo tacked on a late insurance strike to guide the Revs to victory.
The result snapped the Revolution’s five-game winless run against Toronto, which stretched back more than three years to New England’s 2010 home opener.
Injury Report: Agudelo inching closer to return; quartet questionable for TFC
A right knee sprain will keep Juan Agudelo out of the Revolution’s lineup for the seventh straight game this weekend, but the 20-year-old forward is inching closer to a return. Agudelo spent the week working on agility exercises off to the side during New England’s training sessions, and Heaps is anticipating the U.S. National Team striker will provide a spark entering the stretch run.
“We’re hoping to have him soon and he’s getting closer,” Heaps said of Agudelo. “It’s going to be a good time for him to join us to add a little bit more energy to our group.”
Toronto FC lists four players as questionable heading into Sunday night’s match, including leading scorer Robert Earnshaw (hamstring), Designated Player Danny Koevermans (calf) and third overall MLS SuperDraft pick Kyle Bekker (adductor).
Final Thoughts: Returning home, Revs aim to “let everyone know that this is our place”
“We have to put together moments,” said Heaps. “I thought we did that well in the second half at D.C., but we were in a hole and we don’t want to get in any holes. We have to play one play at a time and be prepared for what Toronto’s going to do.
“Quite frankly, for me, it’s even more important that we’re at home. The last time we were at home, we lost to Houston, so it’s important for us to go out there and let everyone know that this is our place and let Toronto know that they played against us.”