FOXBOROUGH, Mass – The first-place New England Revolution will put their seven-game unbeaten run on the line Friday night when they visit the Citrus Bowl to battle expansion side Orlando City SC.
The first-ever meeting between the Revs (5-2-2, 17 pts.) and OCSC (2-4-2, 8 pts.) will be televised nationally in Spanish on Univision Deportes, while viewers can also listen to English commentary by utilizing the SAP function on their televisions. Once again radio coverage will be available in both English (98.5 The Sports Hub) and Portuguese (WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA).
Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on Friday night, and viewers can find out where to find the game on their service provider with this channel guide.
Current Form: Red-hot Revs aim to stay atop the table; Orlando in search of first home win
Charlie Davies scored for the third straight game to help the Revs to a third straight win as they stretched their unbeaten run to seven games (5-0-2) with a 2-1 victory over the previously unbeaten New York Red Bulls last weekend at Gillette Stadium. Teal Bunbury also scored as the Revs remained atop the MLS standings.
Now the Revs return to the road, where they’ve won their last two games on visits to Colorado and Philadelphia, and Davies is hoping that the Revs will show continual signs of improvement as they pass the quarter-mark of the 2015 regular-season schedule.
“It’s all about improvement and hard work,” Davies said. “We continue to jell on the field and that’s the best part about it – we’re having so much fun while we’re playing well. We’ve just got to continue to keep working hard and continue to improve game after game.”
Friday night’s opponent will be a motivated Orlando City side which has racked up an impressive 2-1-1 record with five goals scored on the road, but has struggled to generate the same type of output at home.
Adrian Heath’s side has scored just one goal in four home games – a deflected Kaka free kick in stoppage time of their inaugural match on March 8 – and has suffered three straight shutout losses at the Citrus Bowl.
Past Meetings: Revs set for first regular-season visit to Florida since 2001
Friday night’s meeting will be the first-ever between MLS original New England and expansion side Orlando, but the Revs did face OCSC’s fellow newcomer, New York City FC, two months ago at Yankee Stadium. The Revs dropped that game, 2-0, to fall to 11-12-6 all-time against expansion teams in their inaugural seasons.
This won’t, however, be the Revolution’s first-ever visit to Florida for a regular-season game – just the first in almost 15 years. The Revs went a combined 3-12-3 on the road against the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny before both clubs were contracted following the 2001 season.
Injury Report: Goncalves (calf) easing his way back into action; Molino done for the year
Jose Goncalves, hampered in recent weeks by a nagging calf injury, made a brief return to the field last Saturday, coming off the bench for the final 16 minutes to help the Revs hold off the hard-charging Red Bulls.
The decision to start Goncalves on the bench for that game – and keep Jermaine Jones in central defense – was made in part to let Goncalves ease his way back into action, but also because head coach Jay Heaps didn’t want to tinker too much with a lineup that’s been stringing together results in recent weeks.
“Last week we didn’t want to make too many changes,” said Heaps. “When you’re taking a player (Jones) from defense and putting him in midfield, now you’ve got to move a midfield piece around.
“We’re going to see how this week plays out in terms of what we do on Friday night, but it was a combination of those two things and making sure that Jose got a little bit of time, because he’d been out a couple weeks.”
Orlando was on a bye from regular-season action last weekend but suffered a major blow in a friendly with Brazilian side Ponte Preta as dynamic midfielder Kevin Molino was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
“You hate to see that happen,” said Heaps. “I think Kevin was playing really well for them and it’s just difficult for a team to lose someone who’s very important to them. But when you look at Orlando, I look at them as a deep attacking team.”
Final Thoughts: Heaps lauds Revs’ versatility after another multi-goal performance
“There are different ways that we can score and different ways that we can try to beat teams,” Heaps said of the Revs, who are tied atop the Eastern Conference with 12 goals scored. “I think that’s the most important thing is that we’re versatile. We’re not one dimensional.
“When you’re a coach, that’s what you want to be. You don’t want to be too versatile and not have an identity, but the key is to make sure we continue to have an identity, but be able to make different changes at different times that allow us to be more dangerous from different parts of the field.”