FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A pair of home games in a four-day stretch could be just what the doctor ordered for the New England Revolution, who’ll continue a busy week on Wednesday night when they host the defending MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers at Gillette Stadium.
The Revs (1-2-5, 8 pts.) and Timbers (2-3-2, 8 pts.) will get underway at 7:30 p.m., with coverage in English on both CSN and 98.5 The Sports Hub, and in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Current Form: Loss in D.C. snaps modest four-game unbeaten run; Revs look to rebound
A strong start fell apart last Saturday evening at RFK Stadium, where the Revs registered five shots in the opening eight minutes but failed to break through in an eventual 3-0 loss to D.C. United. The result snapped what had been a modest four-game unbeaten run for the Revs (1-0-3), who’ve now won just once in eight games.
A quick turnaround leaves the Revolution with little time to lick their wounds, however, as they’ll need to bounce back immediately for Wednesday night’s meeting with the defending champs.
“It’s our job as professional athletes to get our mindset right after a loss like D.C., which left a very bitter taste in everyone’s mouth,” said Charlie Davies. “I think it’s important that we have a game, a quick turnaround midweek so we can focus on that.
“We didn’t have to sit there and think about the performance this weekend, as we could just focus on getting ready for Portland. We have to turn it around at home.”
Portland travels to New England a well-rested group, having not played for 11 days since a 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on April 16. Fanendo Adi scored a pair of goals in that game to bring his total to six on the season, just one back of league leader Chris Wondolowski.
The Timbers have had a bit of a rollercoaster start to their title defense, with that win over the Earthquakes snapping what had been a five-game winless run (0-3-2) dating back to the season opener.
Past Meetings: Home-field advantage has been the difference in clubs’ brief history
The bad news is that the Revolution have never won in Portland. The good news is that the Timbers have never won in New England, where Wednesday night’s meeting is set to take place.
While the Revs are 0-2-1 in three visits to Providence Park, they’re an unbeaten 1-0-2 in three home games against the Timbers, including a 1-0 win on March 24, 2012, the first of Jay Heaps’ 55 career victories.
The Revs are winless in their last three meetings with the Timbers, though, including a 2-0 loss in Portland last June, when Adi scored a pair of goals in the late stages to stake the home side to a 2-0 win.
Injury Report: Tierney out with hamstring injury; Agudelo and Bunbury questionable
New England will have to make a change at left back for the first time this season as Chris Tierney is set to miss Wednesday night’s game because of the hamstring injury he suffered last weekend in D.C.
Je-Vaughn Watson shifted to the left upon Tierney’s departure as London Woodberry took over on the right, while Darrius Barnes, Donnie Smith and rookie Jordan McCrary are also options on the left side of defense.
Juan Agudelo, who has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, remains questionable, and he’s joined on the injury report by fellow forward Teal Bunbury, also questionable with a strained hamstring.
Portland will be without playmaker Diego Valeri (suspension), starting goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey (finger) and right back Alvas Powell (wrist), while Darlington Nagbe (ankle), Liam Ridgewell (hamstring), Ben Zemanski (groin) and Darren Mattocks (concussion) are all questionable.
Final Thoughts: Stretch of home games “a huge opportunity to turn things around”
“It’s a huge opportunity to turn things around,” Davies said of the upcoming stretch in which the Revs will play five of their next six games at home. “It’s funny how MLS works; you can feel like you’re not doing so well, and then you get that one huge win and then next thing you know, you roll six wins in a row.
“Wednesday could be an opportunity for us to make that happen. We’re confident. We know that we’ve had a couple bumps in the road, but Wednesday is a prime opportunity for us to take.”