FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution fans have been starved for action this month, with their club sandwiching an August 15 meeting with the Houston Dynamo between a pair of bye weekends.
That’s all about to change, however, as the Revs will play seven games in the next six weeks, beginning on Saturday night when they’ll visit the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., with coverage in English on both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub, and in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM.
Fans who’d like to watch alongside fellow Revolution supporters can head to the club’s official watch party at Murphy’s Law in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Details are available HERE.
Current Form: Both sides unbeaten in recent weeks as playoff battle heats up
It took almost five hours to complete because of a pair of lengthy weather delays, but the Revs extended their unbeaten run to four games (3-0-1) last time out with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. It was New England’s third straight home win and improved their record at Gillette Stadium this season to 7-1-5.
The Revs were off once again last weekend – their second bye in a three-week span – leaving them rested and refreshed ahead of the final two months and the season’s critical stretch run.
“We’re in a position now where every game matters,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “You have to prepare the right way and you want to get into your rhythm so you can hit the right stride going into these final games.”
Philadelphia have also put together a decent run of results, going 1-0-2 in their last three games, including a massive 1-0 road win over the Montreal Impact last weekend. The result pulled the Union to within one point of the Impact for the final playoff spot in the East, although Montreal does hold a staggering four games in hand.
“They’re hungry right now,” said right back Jeremy Hall. “They’ve got to get as many points as possible, as well, to get above the red line. So we know we’re going to be in for a battle.”
Past Meetings: Revs head to Chester in search of a third straight win at PPL Park
While the Revs have struggled on the road this season, they’ve found plenty of recent success at PPL Park.
Since going winless (0-4-2) on their first six visits to the Union’s home venue, New England have put together back-to-back wins at PPL Park, claiming a 5-3 win last year and a 2-1 victory earlier this season.
All told the Revs are 4-2-0 in their last six meetings with the Union after going winless (0-5-3) in the first eight matchups between the clubs from 2010 to 2013.
The visiting team has won each of the last three meetings.
Injury Report: Jones nearing full fitness after returning to the starting XI vs. Houston
While the Revs weren’t eager to break up the rhythm of their current unbeaten run with a pair of off weekends, there’s a sense that the rest could prove beneficial in the long run. Heading into the weekend only one Revs player – Darrius Barnes, recovering from knee surgery – is listed on the injury report.
Jermaine Jones has now been off that injury report for a few weeks, and after starting and playing 45 minutes in the Revolution’s victory over the Dynamo, he’s approaching full fitness.
“I think we’re going to continue to be smart with him,” said Heaps, adding that the staff would monitor Jones’ progression through the week. “Last week and this week will definitely impact how many minutes (he can play).”
Final Thoughts: Revs aiming to build upon strong recent defensive performances
“I think if we look at the Houston game, that was a really good performance by us all around defensively,” said goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, who needed to make just one save to record the shutout. “Credit to everyone closing down the ball and getting pressure in the right areas.
“I think it’s something that we need to try to do on Saturday. I think Philly’s a dangerous team and they have a lot of pieces going forward that are very dangerous, so I think we need to try to put in a similar performance.”