FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will aim to close out the first month of the 2016 season with their first win of the campaign when they visit New York City FC on Saturday afternoon.
Kickoff from Yankee Stadium between the Revs (0-1-2, 2 pts.) and NYCFC (1-1-1, 4 pts.) is set for 3 p.m., with coverage on Comcast SportsNet, 98.5 The Sports Hub and WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA. Analyst Paul Mariner will be back in the booth alongside play-by-play man Brad Feldman.
After the game stay tuned to 98.5 The Sports Hub for the postgame show, hosted by Rob “Hardy” Poole and with analysis from former Revolution assistant coach John Murphy.
Current Form: Revs working on a “short memory” after suffering first loss in Philly
Not much went right for the Revolution last weekend at Talen Energy Stadium, where they suffered their first loss of the season, 3-0 to the Philadelphia Union. C.J. Sapong turned home a pair of deflected goals before Je-Vaughn Watson was sent off in the 36th minute, leaving the Revs with little chance to get back into the game.
For the second straight weekend Lee Nguyen hit the woodwork – technically he hit it twice against the Union as his free kick caught both posts – but the Revs were left frustrated as they were shut out once again.
“The final ball hasn’t been there yet,” said Kelyn Rowe. “There’s a little bit of sharpness that still needs to come back to us. Game by game you have to get better and better, and I think we’re doing that in some [respects], but that final ball needs to be a little better in both the finish and the pass.”
“It clearly wasn’t a good enough performance from anyone, quite frankly,” Jay Heaps said of the loss in Philly. “From staff down to players, we have to be better, starting in our preparation and executing a game plan.”
It’s been a mixed bag for New York City FC in Patrick Vieira’s first three games at the helm, as they’ve picked up one win, one loss and one draw. Saturday’s contest will be NYCFC’s third straight game at Yankee Stadium, where they’ve captured a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC and suffered a 1-0 loss to Orlando City SC.
“It’s always difficult to go play at a place where a team’s been able to get set, and it’s a difficult environment to play in, in terms of the size of the field and what it offers,” Heaps said.
Past Meetings: Revs won two of three meetings during NYCFC’s expansion season
It was a little more than one year ago that the Revs were the first-ever visiting MLS team at Yankee Stadium, suffering a 2-0 loss in NYCFC’s inaugural home match.
New England recovered from that initial setback, however, downing the expansion side in two follow-up meetings later in the season. Nguyen scored the game’s only goal as the Revs grinded out a 1-0 win at Gillette Stadium in mid-July, while Nguyen was joined on the scoresheet by Rowe and Charlie Davies in a 3-1 win at Yankee Stadium in last year’s regular-season finale.
Injury Report: Davies (hamstring) back in the mix; both sides hit by international call-ups
Davies returned to training this week after missing last weekend’s loss to Philadelphia following the birth of his first children, twin boys named Rhys and Dakota. Davies had also been slowed by a mild hamstring strain suffered in the home opener against D.C. United, but he’s back at full strength and ready to feature on Saturday.
“The hamstring’s feeling very good,” Davies said. “Being out there and helping these guys get the mentality back that we’ve had over the past couple seasons and get back on a winning track this weekend is important.”
The Revs will, however, be without Nguyen and Watson, both away on international duty with the U.S. National Team and Jamaica, respectively. Both have started the first three games of the season, meaning Heaps will have to make changes in the midfield and along the backline.
New York City FC have also been hit by international call-ups, as they’ll be missing the trio of Mix Diskerud (U.S. National Team), Khiry Shelton (U.S. Under-23 National Team) and Ronald Matarrita (Costa Rica) on Saturday. Additionally, both Frank Lampard and Federico Bravo are questionable with injuries.
Final Thoughts: Goncalves says Revs must “start grabbing points” this weekend
“This is where you grab points,” said Revs captain Jose Goncalves. “At the end of the season you will have some games that will be more difficult and obviously the body will be more tired, and you will think back and say, ‘If we had won in New York or won in Philly, those are all points.’ Those points are very important, even right now, early in the season or not.
“We must be focused on the field more than we were last week, and start grabbing points. That’s our goal; make sure that we move on and learn from our mistakes.”