FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The hottest team in MLS. National television. Playoff implications.
What more do you need?
The red-hot New England Revolution will look to stretch their league-best unbeaten run to seven games on Sunday evening when they visit fellow Eastern Conference contender Toronto FC at BMO Field.
Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET with coverage on ESPN2 as part of MLS Soccer Sunday. The local radio call, featuring Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner, will be available on 98.5 The Sports Hub, while Portuguese radio listeners can catch the call on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Current Form: Four straight wins have Revs within striking distance of East’s top spot
Lee Nguyen became the first player in Revolution history to record three assists in a single game and Diego Fagundez stayed hot with one goal and one assist himself, as the Revs rolled to a comprehensive 3-0 win over Orlando City SC last Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
It was New England’s fourth straight win and extended their unbeaten run to six games (5-0-1), due in large part to another suffocating defensive effort and a third straight shutout.
“Before we think (about) scoring goals, we have to think defensively,” said center back Jose Goncalves, who has partnered Andrew Farrell throughout the current run of form. “From there, if we are really strong defensively, then we don’t have much to worry about. We know that we will always create chances in the game.”
Depleted by injuries, national team duty and suspensions, Toronto FC suffered a 2-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC last weekend at CenturyLink Field, the club’s third straight loss away from home.
But at BMO Field – the venue for Sunday’s matchup – TFC have won four of their last five, outscoring visitors by a margin of 14-6 in the process.
Past Meetings: Revs head north in search of a sixth straight result at BMO Field
New England’s early struggles at BMO Field – 0-2-2 in their first four visits – have faded away in recent years, as the Revs are unbeaten in their last five trips to Toronto (2-0-3), including wins on their last two visits.
The clubs have already met twice this year, both at Gillette Stadium, playing to a 1-1 draw on May 16 before Charlie Davies inspired a 3-1 Revolution win with a pair of goals on August 1.
The Revs are unbeaten against TFC at any venue in the past two years, going 4-0-2 overall.
Injury Report: Both sides get national team stars back in time for critical showdown
Jermaine Jones was unavailable for last weekend’s victory over Orlando City, but the veteran midfielder continued to build his fitness in a pair of friendlies with the U.S. National Team.
Jones – who played 14, 45 and 62 minutes, respectively, in a trio of appearances with the Revs after bilateral sports hernia surgery – went just about 70 minutes in each appearance with the USMNT, a 2-1 win over Peru and Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to Brazil at Gillette Stadium.
Inching closer to full strength, he’s now back with the Revs and looking forward to Sunday’s showdown with TFC.
Toronto FC stars Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley were also a part of that USMNT camp – Bradley just for the Brazil match – and return to TFC ahead of the weekend.
The question for Toronto is the status of leading MVP candidate Sebastian Giovinco, who missed last weekend’s loss to the Sounders with an adductor injury that also ruled him out of Italian national team duty.
Giovinco – top two in MLS in both goals (17) and assists (13) – is being evaluated throughout the week, but TFC head coach Greg Vanney has hinted that he expects the diminutive attacker to be available on Sunday.
Final Thoughts: Revs expecting “a big-time feel” for Sunday evening’s match
“This time of the season, they all [feel big],” said Scott Caldwell, the Homegrown midfielder who leads New England with 2,339 minutes played this year. “But in Toronto, against a team that we know pretty well, especially on national TV – yeah, it will definitely have a big-time feel, especially with playoff implications.”