FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Two of Major League Soccer’s hottest teams will do battle on Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium, where the New England Revolution will host top-of-the-table Seattle Sounders FC.
The Revs (4-3-2, 14 pts.) enter the weekend locked in a four-way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Sounders (7-2-1, 22 pts.) have separated themselves from the pack in the Western Conference and stand alone atop the league table.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on Sunday, with Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub covering the action.
Current Form: Lengthy unbeaten runs have both Revs and Sounders on the rise
Last weekend’s dramatic come-from-behind, 2-1 victory over Toronto FC at BMO Field stretched the Revolution’s unbeaten run to four games (3-0-1), improving the club’s record to 4-1-2 in the last seven since suffering back-to-back losses to open the season.
“The momentum is good for us,” said Diego Fagundez. “That’s what we want. We want to keep going on a streak. It’s like getting your confidence going, and if you know you can beat good teams, you know you can beat anyone.”
While the Revs’ current unbeaten run has been bolstered by a pair of road results, it’s their home form which has been most impressive in the early part of the season. Through three games at Gillette Stadium, not only are the Revs unbeaten (2-0-1) with zero goals conceded, but they’ve only allowed a total of three shots on target.
If there’s one team in the league even hotter than the Revs right now, it’s the Sounders. A midweek win over FC Dallas stretched Seattle’s unbeaten run to six games (5-0-1), including five straight victories. Quite remarkably, Seattle has trailed in five of the six games on the current unbeaten run, coming from behind on each occasion.
Leading the line for the Sounders’ league-best offense (22 goals) are Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, who top the MLS scoring charts in goals (8) and assists (6), respectively.
“I think they’re the best team in the league and we just have to prepare properly, step on the field with the right mindset and be ready to go,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “We have to play a near-perfect game, and that’s what we hope to do and put them off their game.”
Past Meetings: Revs in search of first win over Sounders since 2010
Since winning three of the first four all-time meetings with the Sounders in 2009 and 2010, it’s been a bit of a struggle for the Revs against their Pacific Northwest opponents. New England is 0-2-2 in the last four meetings with Seattle dating back to 2011, including a loss and a draw in the last two contests at Gillette Stadium.
The Revs and Sounders met just once last season, playing to a scoreless draw at CenturyLink Field.
Injury Report: Alston and Goncalves sidelined; Rowe likely back in the mix
Kevin Alston looks set to miss out on Sunday’s clash with Seattle after a left hamstring strain forced him off the field in the first half of last weekend’s win in Toronto. The speedy fullback is listed as “out” on the official injury report along with Jose Goncalves, who is making progress in his recovery from a right quad strain but is still likely to miss his fourth straight game.
There is good news on the injury front for Kelyn Rowe, who has been removed from the injury report and should be available to feature in some capacity on Sunday after missing six games with a left hamstring strain.
Seattle enters the weekend with a couple of question marks along the backline; both Leo Gonzalez (R hamstring strain) and Dylan Remick (L ankle sprain) are listed as questionable.
Final Thoughts: Unbeaten at home, Revs welcome league’s best road team
“It’s our house. We’ve got to go in there and protect our house,” said Lee Nguyen, who has converted a penalty kick in each of the last three games. “Seattle’s number one in the West right now so it’s going to be a great game. Sporting KC came here [two weeks ago] – the defending champs – and I think Seattle right here is one of the best teams in the league right now, so we’ve got to come in with the same mindset that we did against KC.”