FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will get their second crack at clinching a spot in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs on Saturday night when the Philadelphia Union visit Gillette Stadium.
A win this weekend would guarantee a third straight postseason berth for the Revolution (13-10-7, 46 pts.), who could also clinch with a draw should Orlando City SC drop points in their meeting with the New York Red Bulls on Friday night. The Revs would also clinch if both Orlando and New York City FC lose or draw this weekend, regardless of New England’s result on Saturday night.
The Revs and Union (9-15-6, 33 pts.) will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night, with coverage available on Comcast SportsNet, 98.5 The Sports Hub and WMVX 1570 AM (Portuguese radio).
Current Form: Revs aim for bounce-back performance after first loss in two months
New England saw both their six-game winning streak and eight-game unbeaten run (7-0-1) come to an end last weekend on a rainy night at Stade Saputo, as the Montreal Impact benefited from two deflected goals to hand the Revolution a 3-0 loss, their first since mid-July.
It was a frustrating end to a nevertheless successful week for the Revs, who took six points from three games thanks to victories over Toronto FC and the league-leading New York Red Bulls.
Now, of course, the focus turns to Philadelphia.
“It was an important week for us and we accomplished a lot, but at the same time, we left Montreal not the way we really wanted to,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “So there’s room for improvement.”
The Union – after a three-game losing streak in July – have turned things around in recent weeks to keep their playoff hopes alive. Jim Curtin’s side is 3-2-2 in the last seven games to stay within six points of the final playoff spot in the East, although Montreal does hold two critical games in hand in that race.
Philadelphia’s potential is unquestioned; they’ll host Sporting Kansas City in the 2015 U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday night at PPL Park, with a chance to secure their first-ever cup trophy.
Past Meetings: Revs looking for a clean sweep of Union after pair of wins in Philly
The Revs have already won the 2015 regular-season series with the Union, but now they’ll look to sweep the three-game set after victories in the first two meetings at PPL Park.
Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury scored in a come-from-behind Revolution win back in April, while more recently Diego Fagundez scored the game’s only goal in a 1-0 victory less than one month ago.
New England’s pair of wins at PPL Park this year have continued a recent trend; the road team has won the last four meetings in this series, with the Revs winning three times in Philly and the Union once in Foxborough.
All told the Revs are 5-2-0 in their last seven regular-season meetings with the Union, that after going winless (0-5-3) through the first eight meetings from 2010 to 2013.
Injury Report: Jones approaching full strength after first 90-minute performance
After gradually building from 14 minutes to 81 minutes through his first six appearances post-surgery, Jermaine Jones went the full 90 minutes in last weekend’s loss to Montreal.
While he’s still recovering some of his sharpness following a two-month layoff, going the distance at Stade Saputo was another significant step for Jones as he aims to be at full strength through the final few games of the regular season and into the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
“It’s getting better and better,” Jones said on Tuesday. “I know it’s tough after injuries to come back, but it’s getting better. We work on it and hope that after that first 90, that the next 90 comes and that I get quickly back to 100 percent.”
Final Thoughts: Revs focused on capitalizing with just two home games remaining
“They’re huge,” Scott Caldwell said of the Revolution’s two remaining regular-season home games. “We’re not in the playoffs yet. A couple teams had big wins [last] weekend. They’re showing that they’re in the race, as well, so we have to take care of the games one at a time, starting with Philly.”