FOXBOROUGH, Mass – Unbeaten in five and tied atop the Eastern Conference standings, the New England Revolution return to Gillette Stadium on Saturday night for an inter-conference showdown with Real Salt Lake.
The Revs (3-2-2, 11 pts.) and RSL (2-1-3, 9 pts.) will kick off at 7:30 p.m., with local television coverage on Comcast SportsNet New England. Radio listeners can once again catch the call in English on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and 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.
As part of Earth Day celebrations, fans attending Saturday’s game are asked to bring three or more aluminum cans to be recycled. Those who recycle three or more cans at the gates will receive a voucher for a Revolution Charitable Foundation water bottle, which can be redeemed at the same location following the game.
Current Form: Revs aim to stretch pair of unbeaten runs; RSL rebounding from first loss
Second-half substitutes Teal Bunbury, Diego Fagundez and Chris Tierney sparked the Revs to a comeback win last weekend in Philadelphia, extending their unbeaten run to five games (3-0-2). It was the Revolution’s second straight victory away from home following an April 4 triumph in Colorado.
Now the Revs return to Gillette Stadium hoping to extend their regular-season home unbeaten run to 12 games, which would match the club record set 10 years ago. Dating back to last July the Revs are 8-0-3 in Foxborough.
There’s little question that the Revs are thrilled to have made Gillette Stadium a fortress in recent months, but with a pair of 0-0 draws in their first three home games this season, there’s a sense that it can get even better.
“I think this year we’ve let some points slip at home that we think we should’ve been taking full points,” said goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. “We need to make it very difficult for teams to come in here and take points off of us and hopefully we can do that throughout the rest of the year.”
Real Salt Lake arrives in Foxborough looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season, a 1-0 setback suffered last weekend against the league-leading Vancouver Whitecaps. Jeff Cassar’s side has been one of the stingier defensive teams in 2015, conceding just five goals through their first six games.
Past Meetings: Revs looking to snap out of five-year slump against RSL
The last time the Revolution beat Real Salt Lake it was on the strength of a Kheli Dube hat trick. That was way back on August 23, 2009, when Dube’s three-goal outing lifted the Revs to a 3-1 win at Gillette Stadium.
In seven meetings since, the Revs have managed just a single draw – a 3-3 thriller on July 4, 2011 – dropping the other six matches, including the last three meetings in Foxborough. The sides have met just once in each of the past three seasons, with RSL claiming a trio of 2-1 victories.
“If you look at them over the past four or five seasons, they’ve been very successful and they have a style of play that a lot of those guys are very familiar with,” said Shuttleworth. “They’re a good attacking team and they keep the ball well, so it’s going to be a difficult test for us. But hopefully we have a good week of training this week and we’ll be prepared.”
Injury Report: Barnes out for six months following surgery to repair torn patellar tendon
New England’s defensive depth took a hit on Friday afternoon when it was announced that Darrius Barnes has been placed on the disabled list following surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. The versatile defender, who had started four of the Revolution’s first seven games, is expected to miss six months.
London Woodberry stepped into the right back role in Barnes’ stead last weekend in Philadelphia, and may be called upon once again on Saturday night after a standout performance at PPL Park.
“He showed (well),” Jay Heaps said of Woodberry, who hadn’t appeared in an MLS game since June 2013 with FC Dallas. “He’s got to maintain that consistency and we’ve got a real player there.”
There is good news, however, for Jose Goncalves (calf) and Daigo Kobayashi (hamstring), both of whom increased their participation in training throughout the week after missing the trip to Philadelphia.
RSL will be without both of their starting center backs on Saturday night with Jamison Olave suspended and Chris Schuler sidelined for 4-6 weeks following knee surgery.
Rookie midfielder Sebastian Saucedo is also suspended, while Homegrown midfielder Jordan Allen is away on duty with the U.S. Under-20 National Team.
Final Thoughts: Heaps praises RSL’s spine of Beckerman and Rimando
“It’s the chemistry on the field, it’s the players on the field, it’s the organization in terms of Jason Kreis and what he did, then passing it on to Jeff Cassar,” Heaps said of what’s made RSL so consistently dangerous. “The group they have, they’re as hard as it gets.
“You’ve got Kyle Beckerman, who for me is one of the greatest leaders in midfield that MLS has seen. He literally makes his team compete every night, every week and it’s because of his mentality. And then you’ve got a goalkeeper in Nick Rimando.”