FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution hope they’ve saved the best for last.
A record-breaking crowd of 40,000-plus will pack Gillette Stadium on Saturday night for the Revolution’s regular-season home finale, when the hosts will hope to lock up a playoff berth against the Montreal Impact.
Both sides could officially be playoff-bound before kickoff on Saturday should Orlando City SC lose or draw at home against New York City FC on Friday night, but the Revs (13-11-8, 47 pts.) could also secure their spot in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs with a win or draw against the Impact (13-13-6, 45 pts.).
The action gets underway at 7:30 p.m., with the Revolution set to announce the 2015 Santander Team MVP shortly before kickoff on Fan Appreciation Night.
Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Jessie Coffield will have the call on Comcast SportsNet, 98.5 The Sports Hub and SiriusXM Channel 85, while Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Stay tuned to CSN after the final whistle for Revolution Postgame Live, hosted by Dalen Cuff.
Current Form: Both sides on brink of clinching playoff spots in season’s penultimate week
Saturday night’s meeting with Montreal will be the Revolution’s fourth chance to secure a postseason berth – that is, of course, if they haven’t already clinched before kickoff depending on Orlando’s result on Friday.
Regardless of their playoff standing the Revs simply need three points this weekend, having stumbled to a pair of road losses and a frustrating home draw in their last three matches. Entering the regular season’s penultimate week, New England could still finish anywhere from second to seventh in the crowded Eastern Conference.
Last weekend’s bye offered Jay Heaps and his staff an extra week of training to prepare for the Impact, and work on correcting the mistakes which have plagued them in recent weeks.
“We need to be sharper, stronger mentally and smart,” said Jose Goncalves. “We’re here to work on it and to make sure that Saturday, it’s going to be better.”
Montreal is the side that kick-started New England’s recent slump, handing the Revs a 3-0 loss at Stade Saputo just four weeks ago, snapping a six-game winning streak in the process. It was the first of three straight wins for the Impact, who’ve gone 5-2-2 in the last nine games to solidify their spot above the red line in the East.
“They have a player like (Didier) Drogba, who when you give him a few chances, for sure he will score one,” Goncalves said of the Ivorian striker, who has notched nine goals in his first nine MLS games. “We must limit his touches and stay tight to him.”
Past Meetings: Revs aiming to end Impact’s recent run of success in Foxborough
Gillette Stadium has been something of a fortress for the Revolution in recent years. They’ve gone 16-1-9 in their last 26 home games dating back to last summer, including a pair of 2014 playoff games.
But the Impact is one of the rare clubs to have pegged the Revs back in Foxborough, as the Canadian side is 2-1-1 in four previous visits to New England. That includes a scoreless draw earlier this season, in the Revolution’s windswept home opener back on March 21.
All together the Revs are 3-5-2 against the Impact since they entered the league as an expansion side in 2012, while they’re winless in their last three meetings with Montreal (0-1-2) in the past year.
Injury Report: Jones and Nguyen return from USMNT duty with eyes on Montreal
Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen rejoined the Revolution for training on Thursday morning, fresh off a brief stint with the U.S. National Team.
Nguyen should be fresh after featuring for just 18 minutes at the end of Tuesday night’s friendly loss to Costa Rica, while Jones said he feels good after playing a total of 165 minutes between last weekend’s CONCACAF Cup against Mexico and the follow-up friendly against the Ticos.
“The minutes that I got against Mexico and Costa Rica were good for me,” Jones said. “I was out with injury for a long time, so to get games in the legs was good. I’m looking forward to the game. We lost in Montreal really bad, so we want to try to do it differently.”
While Jones and Nguyen will both be available on Saturday night, Teal Bunbury will not be, as he serves a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Impact defender Laurent Ciman will be suspended for the same reason, while Montreal’s interim head coach Mauro Biello has yet to decide whether Drogba will feature because of the FieldTurf surface at Gillette Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Rowe says Revs need to “tighten up a little bit” in the final third
“We’re a team that’s going to make chances,” said Kelyn Rowe. “We’re going to create and create, but if we don’t get that final ball in, it’s going to be hard to finish. Whether the final ball be the cross, the final pass through the defense, or that finish, whatever it may be, it all needs to tighten up a little bit.”