FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – First place in the Eastern Conference will be on the line Wednesday night when the New England Revolution host the New York Red Bulls at Gillette Stadium.
The fourth-place Revs (12-9-7, 43 pts.) currently trail the first-place Red Bulls (13-7-6, 45 pts.) by just two points in the crowded Eastern Conference, and would vault ahead of New York, Columbus Crew SC (12-9-8, 44 pts.) and D.C. United (13-10-6, 45 pts.) with a midweek victory.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., with coverage in English on both Comcast SportsNet New England and 98.5 The Sports Hub, and in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Stay tuned to CSNNE after the final whistle for Revolution Postgame Live, hosted by Dalen Cuff and with analysis from former Revolution midfielder Khano Smith.
Current Form: Revs and Red Bulls two of league’s hottest sides entering midweek clash
Diego Fagundez scored his third straight game-winning goal as the Revolution extended their winning streak to five and their unbeaten sun to seven (6-0-1) with a 3-1 victory over Toronto FC on Sunday. Lee Nguyen, rediscovering last year’s MVP form, played a part in setting up all three goals for a second straight game.
New England’s five straight victories match the longest such streak in MLS this season and the Revs are now just one win shy of the club-record six-game winning streak they established back in 2005.
“I think we’ve found our chemistry and the team’s operating on all cylinders,” said Charlie Davies. “It’s exciting. It’s fun and we’re enjoying ourselves. The confidence is there, the self-belief is there and I think we all understand what it takes to get back to where we want to be.”
If any team can currently challenge the Revs for the title of hottest team in MLS, it’s the Red Bulls, who’ve climbed to the top of the East by going 9-2-1 through their last 12 games. In those nine wins the Red Bulls’ powerful attack, led by Bradley Wright-Phillips, has averaged 2.67 goals per game.
Most recently the Red Bulls erased an early 2-0 deficit en route to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Fire.
“They’re a good team all the way around,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “They’re as good as it gets in this league and they’re playing extremely well, extremely confident.”
Past Meetings: Rubber match on tap after sides split season’s first two meetings
Wednesday night’s game will be the rubber match of the 2015 regular-season series between the Revolution and Red Bulls; they split the first two meetings of the year, with each team winning at home.
Davies and Teal Bunbury scored to lift the Revs to a 2-1 win over the Red Bulls on May 2 at Gillette Stadium – part of a nine-game unbeaten run – while New York returned the favor on July 11 at Red Bull Arena, scoring three times in the opening 12 minutes to kick-start a 4-1 victory.
“They’re a huge rival for us and we don’t like the taste they left in our mouth after our last match [against] them in New York,” said Davies. “It’s a game that we’re all looking forward to.”
New England’s home win over New York back in May added to the Revolution’s impressive record against the Red Bulls at Gillette Stadium, where they’re 12-2-6 against their rivals since the venue opened in 2002.
Injury Report: Heaps evaluates options with Jones (yellow card accumulation) suspended
Jermaine Jones will miss his second straight home game on Wednesday night as the influential midfielder will be suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card on Sunday at BMO Field.
Jones, who played 81 minutes against Toronto to mark his longest appearance since returning from bilateral sports hernia surgery, would’ve had his minutes limited at some point this week regardless as the Revs roll through a three-games-in-seven-days stretch.
Daigo Kobayashi stepped into the lineup when Jones missed the Revolution’s last home game while on international duty, and there could be other changes, as well, as Heaps evaluates his roster ahead of another trip to Canada and a meeting with the Montreal Impact on Saturday night.
“We’re still seeing where we stand from Sunday’s game,” Heaps said on Monday afternoon. “We had the session today to really see where everyone was. That will be another process going forward. We’ll look at it again [on Tuesday] and see where guys are.”
Final Thoughts: Davies says Revs are “confident, yet hungry” ahead of critical clash
“I think our confidence is right where it needs to be,” said Davies. “We’re confident, yet hungry.
“I think with team performances like [in Toronto] where we don’t feel like we played that well, but we’re able to get results, that goes a long way for team morale. This Wednesday at home we know we have to win and we plan on getting three points.”