FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution are heading north of the border for a second consecutive weekend, only this time they’re looking to secure their spot in the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Revs (13-9-7, 46 pts.), perched atop the Eastern Conference standings, would clinch a postseason berth with a win on Saturday night at Stade Saputo, where they’ll visit the Montreal Impact (9-11-6, 33 pts.). The Revs could also clinch a playoff spot with a draw or even a loss depending on other results this weekend.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday night, with coverage in English on both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Current Form: Unbeaten in eight (7-0-1), Revs look to set new club-record winning streak
No team in the entire 2015 MLS season has been as hot as the Revolution are right now.
Diego Fagundez scored for a fourth straight game and Kelyn Rowe bagged the winner midway through the second half as the Revs won their sixth straight on Wednesday night, 2-1 over the New York Red Bulls. That matches the longest winning streak in Revolution history – established in 2005 – and it’s the most consecutive wins any team has put together in MLS this year.
The first-place Revs are now unbeaten in their past eight games (7-0-1) dating back to mid-July, and they’ve kicked off a three-games-in-seven-days stretch with wins over East rivals Toronto FC and the Red Bulls.
“It’s been great to get those two good results the past two games,” said center back Andrew Farrell. “If we’d gotten four points out of these two tough games, I think we’d have been happy. But it’s great to get six.”
Montreal rides a modest three-game unbeaten run (1-0-2) into this weekend’s matchup, including a pair of impressive draws on the West Coast against the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes.
That run has coincided with the arrival and debut of Didier Drogba, who became the first player in MLS history to record a hat trick on his debut start in a wild 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire two weeks ago.
“He’s world class any way you slice it,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said of the former Chelsea striker, making note of his budding relationship with playmaker Ignacio Piatti. “He can score goals, he can hold the ball up, he can find different ways to beat you, and he’s still a physical presence.”
Past Meetings: Revs and Impact set for first meeting since Revolution’s home opener
Saturday night’s meeting will be the first between the Revs and Impact in six months – they last squared off all the way back in March, when they played to a 0-0 draw in New England’s home opener at Gillette Stadium.
The last time the Revs visited Stade Saputo – in October of last year – they clinched a playoff spot with a 2-2 draw, meaning they’ll have the chance to secure postseason berths on consecutive trips to Montreal.
Historically the Revs have had decent success at Stade Saputo, going 2-2-1 at the venue since the Impact entered MLS as an expansion team in 2012, including 2-1-1 on their last four visits.
Injury Report: Rotating players midweek gives Heaps options on Saturday night
Heaps made five changes to the starting lineup between Sunday’s win at BMO Field and Wednesday night’s triumph at Gillette Stadium, meaning some key pieces will be rested heading into the weekend.
Jermaine Jones is eligible to return from suspension on Saturday, while Teal Bunbury, Charlie Davies, Jeremy Hall and Chris Tierney all began the midweek match on the bench after starting in Toronto. Juan Agudelo, Kevin Alston, Daigo Kobayashi and London Woodberry were all strong while making rare starts against New York.
Woodberry will be suspended for the trip to Montreal because of caution accumulation, but the rotation leaves Heaps with options as the Revs finish out a hectic week.
“We’re assessing where everyone is,” Heaps said on Thursday. “I think you’ve got to take account for how many minutes have been played over the two games and where everyone is physically. Everyone reacts a little differently.
“[Thursday] was the first day to assess and then [Friday] we’ll start to make some decisions on the lineup.”
Final Thoughts: Heaps says red-hot Revs still “have more to offer” moving forward
“Any time you go on the road – and now we’re going on to Montreal – we’re going to have to be turned on and tuned in to every play,” Heaps said. “I thought that our last couple games weren’t our best from a play standpoint; we had bright moments and we scored five goals in two games, but I think we have more to offer.
“That’s a good thing, getting some results without totally outplaying the team on the field. That’s a good message going into the late parts of the season.”