FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A hectic stretch which could see the New England Revolution play seven games in just 22 days begins on Saturday night when they host the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium.
The Eastern Conference clash between the second-place Revs (5-4-6, 21 pts.) and ninth-place Fire (4-7-2, 14 pts.) is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub will carry the action in English, while WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA will have the call in Portuguese.
Stay tuned to CSNNE after the final whistle for Postgame Live, hosted by Kevin Walsh and Khano Smith.
Current Form: Revs determined to snap six-game winless run; Fire also aim to bounce back
New England’s winless skid reached six games (0-2-4) last weekend in Portland, where they held the Timbers scoreless into the dying stages before conceding a pair of late goals to Fanendo Adi in a 2-0 loss.
The result leaves the Revolution without a win for more than a month, and with five of their next seven regular-season games through June and July set to take place away from home, they know that this opportunity to get back in the win column with the support of the Foxborough faithful is one they can’t let slip away.
“We need to get three points; I think that’s as simple as it can get for us,” said Teal Bunbury. “We haven’t gotten three points in a long time and we’re going to be at home, with our fans and our support, and we have the guys to do it. We need to go out there and execute and get three points.”
Chicago have been up and down through the first half of the 2015 season. The Fire rattled off three straight wins from late March through April, but otherwise Frank Yallop’s side is 1-7-2, including a 0-4-2 mark on the road.
This will be Chicago’s third game in the month of June, having dropped the first two while conceding three goals on both occasions, including a 3-2 loss to Orlando City SC last weekend at Toyota Park.
Past Meetings: Eastern Conference foes split the three-game season series in 2014
The Revs and Fire split a three-game series last year, each side winning once to go along with one draw.
This will be the third straight meeting between these sides at Gillette Stadium, where the Fire secured a 1-0 win last July before the Revs – behind goals from Charlie Davies and Diego Fagundez – snapped a three-game winless run against Chicago with a 2-1 victory in early September.
Although it’s faded somewhat in recent years, a heated rivalry developed between New England and Chicago through a 10-year stretch from 2000 to 2009, when these two clubs met in the postseason eight times.
Injury Report: Agudelo returns from international duty; Jones (groin) still sidelined
After starting the first 14 games of the regular season, Juan Agudelo was absent for last weekend’s loss at Providence Park while in Europe for a pair of friendlies with the U.S. National Team.
Agudelo featured for 45 minutes in Wednesday night’s win over defending World Cup champion Germany before catching a flight back to Boston on Thursday. The 22-year-old forward trained with the Revs on Friday and will be available for selection on Saturday, although to what extent is still to be determined.
Unavailable this weekend, however, is influential midfielder Jermaine Jones. The groin injury which prevented the 33-year-old from joining the U.S. for those recent friendlies will continue to keep him sidelined this weekend, and the Revs continue to assess the ailment on a daily basis.
“There’s obviously some swelling in the area, so there’s an assessment process,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “I think everyone wants to make sure that we get it right.”
Chicago will be missing three players because of international duty as starters David Accam (Ghana), Joevin Jones (Trinidad & Tobago) and Shaun Maloney (Scotland) are all off representing their respective countries. Patrick Nyarko, meanwhile, is out while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Final Thoughts: Revs focused on executing “a more lethal plan”
“I feel like moving forward now we have to start focusing on ourselves a lot more,” said Bunbury. “We have to understand what other teams are going to bring to each match, but at the end of the day, it’s really about us and about things we can control.
“Weeks leading up to training or to games, we have to start focusing on executing a more lethal plan, being able to finish teams off and maybe not be too complacent. We have to really attack teams more.”