PORTLAND, Ore. – This weekend the New England Revolution visit the West Coast for the second and final time in the 2015 regular season, heading to Providence Park for a meeting with the Portland Timbers.
Saturday night’s late kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET, with local television coverage on Comcast SportsNet. The radio call will be available in both English on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM.
This will be the only meeting between the Revs (5-3-6, 21 pts.) and Timbers (5-5-4, 19 pts.) this regular season.
Current Form: Another draw stretches Revs’ winless run to five; Timbers win second straight
Last weekend’s highly-anticipated MLS Cup rematch between the Revs and LA Galaxy ended all square, both sides scoring twice in the first half of a 2-2 draw. The result extended the Revolution’s home unbeaten run to 16 games (10-0-6), but more pertinently stretched their current winless run to five games (0-1-4).
For the fifth straight game the Revs took a 1-0 lead in the early stages only to eventually see the advantage evaporate, and that’s a trend they’ll be looking to end on Saturday night in Portland.
“As a team, we have to sense when to put the foot on the gas and keep going, and when to collectively as a group drop back and defend,” said Charlie Davies. “I think it’s a bit of adjusting and tinkering with the mentality of the group, but it’s something that we can get over pretty quickly.”
It won’t be easy against a Portland side which has found its form in recent weeks, winning back-to-back games against Eastern Conference leader D.C. United and the always stingy Colorado Rapids.
The Timbers – surprisingly just 2-1-3 at home this season – have unquestionably received a boost from the recent returns of Diego Valeri and Will Johnson, two players who make Portland’s midfield tick.
“They have some strengths and they’re getting healthy,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “They’re at full strength and it’s important for us to understand that, but also try to take advantage of areas on the field where we think we’re going to be okay.”
Past Meetings: Revs still in search of first win – and goal – at Providence Park
This marks just the third visit to Oregon for the Revolution, who haven’t scored on their previous two trips to the Rose City. They suffered a 3-0 loss at Providence Park back in 2011 before riding Bobby Shuttleworth’s career-best nine-save effort to a 0-0 draw at the venue in 2013.
Three of the five previous meetings have finished level – including last year’s only matchup, a 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium in mid-August – with the Revs’ lone win coming in March 2012, Heaps’ first victory as a head coach.
Injury Report: Revs lose Agudelo (USMNT) and Jones (groin), regain Nguyen and Tierney
Both Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney will be available for selection once again this weekend after the duo served their one-game suspensions during Sunday’s draw with the Galaxy.
It’s a welcome boost for Heaps, who’ll have to cope without Juan Agudelo and Jermaine Jones.
Agudelo is the only Revolution player to have started all 14 games this season, but that’ll change on Saturday night as the young forward is currently with the U.S. National Team. Jones was also scheduled to be with the U.S. for the pair of friendlies against the Netherlands (June 5) and his native Germany (June 10), but was forced to withdraw from the roster after suffering a groin injury against LA.
Valeri – who has been in and out of Portland’s lineup since returning from offseason surgery – is listed as questionable with a sprained ankle, while midfielder Ben Zemanski is out while recovering from ACL surgery.
Final Thoughts: Winless in five, Revs playing for maximum points at Providence Park
“Portland, at home, they’re always gunning,” said Davies, who’ll be hoping to make his first-ever appearance at Providence Park. “They want to get results at home. I feel like they’ve taken a positive step forward as a team, winning the last two. They’re on a roll right now.
“For us, it would be a great result to go there and get the win that we’re looking for. We’re going there with every intention to get three points and it should be a good one.”