FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Another weekend presents another opportunity for the New England Revolution to put their name in the win column as the San Jose Earthquakes will visit Gillette Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Revs (0-2-1, 1 pt.) and Earthquakes (2-1-0, 6 pts.) will get underway at 3 p.m., with live coverage in English on Comcast SportsNet New England (TV), 98.5 FM HD2 (radio) and cbsbostonsports.com (online), and in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Stay tuned to CSNNE after the game for Revolution Postgame Live with Dalen Cuff and Khano Smith.
Current Form: Revs hoping to use last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Montreal as a building block
For the second straight year the Revs head into their fourth game of the season still searching for their first goal and win of the campaign, and for the second straight year their opponent in that fourth game will be San Jose.
But the performance in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with the Montreal Impact, which earned the Revs both their first shutout and point of 2015, gives them reason to believe they’re on an upward trajectory, and are perhaps headed for a breakout similar to the 21-goals-in-nine-games stretch they put together at this point last season.
“Goals come and go, as we saw last year. We scored in bunches,” said Chris Tierney. “We have to have a good defensive foundation and I think we’re starting to get that. So we’re going to continue to make sure that things are tight defensively, and we’re confident that the goals will start to come.”
Led by newcomers Innocent Emeghara and Matias Perez Garcia – and of course veteran poacher Chris Wondolowski – the revamped Earthquakes will arrive in Foxborough on the back of consecutive wins, including an impressive 3-2 victory over Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field.
More recently the Earthquakes opened up their brand new home, Avaya Stadium, with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire, and it was a performance which showed the influence of new head coach Dominic Kinnear.
“They look good. They look dangerous,” said Tierney. “They’ve got players that can hurt you; they’ve got a top quality player in Wondolowski who’s a poacher who always finds a way to score goals.
“It’s going to be a tough task. They’re a good squad. But like I always say, if we play up to our potential, especially at home, then we expect to take three points.”
Past Meetings: Revs aim to make it three wins in a row vs. historically stingy Earthquakes
Historically no team has given the Revolution more trouble than the Earthquakes, but the Revs have taken steps to change that narrative in recent years.
After nabbing just three total wins against two different iterations of the Earthquakes from 2001 through 2012, New England have won their lone meeting with San Jose in each of the past two seasons.
Last year the Revs faced the Earthquakes under similar circumstances, in their fourth game of the year still searching for their first goal and win. An own goal from San Jose defender Victor Bernardez broke the ice, setting the stage for Lee Nguyen’s dramatic stoppage-time winner in a 2-1 victory at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Nguyen was also at the center of the action the last time these teams met at Gillette Stadium, assisting on both goals in the Revolution’s 2-0 win back in July of 2013.
Injury Report: Jones back in New England, but still recovering from sports hernia surgery
A familiar face returned to Foxborough on Thursday as Jermaine Jones re-joined the Revs after spending recent weeks working with rehab specialists from the U.S. National Team. Jones immediately joined his teammates on the training field, but was limited in his workload as he continues to recover from sports hernia surgery.
“I’m happy that I’m at the point where the pain, it’s away,” said Jones, who revealed that he played through pain for more than a year before undergoing surgery. “It’s still, I’d say, maybe a week, two weeks I have to go. But the fitness comes back if you’re on the field, if you train with the team. This is the easiest part.”
Kevin Alston is likely to join Jones on the sidelines as he continues to recover from a right hamstring strain, although he did return to light outdoor training later in the week. Teal Bunbury, meanwhile, is inching closer to a return from a right shoulder sprain as he increased his participation throughout the week.
The Revs will receive a boost on the backline as captain and center back Jose Goncalves is once again available for selection after serving a one-game suspension during last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Montreal.
Final Thoughts: Process remains the same as Revs fight to overcome slow start
“It’s a long season,” said Tierney, an eight-year veteran. “I’ve been in this league a while and you don’t get too low on losses and draws, and you don’t get too high when you win. The process is the same.
“We’re going to keep trying to improve and do things that we know are going to help us win games, and if we keep bringing it in training and bring performances on game day, then the points will take care of themselves.”