FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will close out a busy week – and the month of April – on Saturday night when they host second-year MLS side Orlando City SC at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff between the Revs (1-2-6, 9 pts.) and Orlando City (2-2-3, 9 pts.) is set for 7:30 p.m., with local coverage in English on both CSN and 98.5 The Sports Hub, and in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Fans attending the game are encouraged to bring three or more aluminum cans to be recycled. The first 1,000 fans to donate three-plus cans will receive a New England Revolution Charitable Foundation notebook made from recycled materials, with the first 250 of those notebooks signed by a Revolution player.
Aluminum cans will be accepted for donation at the nrg Plaza, outside the Bank of America gate and between the E1 and E2 entrances at Gillette Stadium.
Current Form: New England still trying to turn chances into goals, draws into wins
For the third time in the season’s first nine games the Revolution scored a dramatic late equalizer on Wednesday night, grinding out a 1-1 draw with the defending champion Portland Timbers at Gillette Stadium. Second-half substitute Femi Hollinger-Janzen provided the late spark for New England, helping force a decisive own goal.
The Revs were dominant in possession against the Timbers – keeping the ball for more than 60 percent of the match – and they attempted almost 200 more passes than the visitors, but again they struggled to turn time on the ball into clear-cut scoring chances and goals.
“[Against Portland] we got stuck ball watching a little bit,” head coach Jay Heaps said. “One guy was moving at a high speed, but the movement off the ball wasn’t good enough. That’s where we have to get better. It’s not usually the guy on the ball; it’s the options he has and the movement off the ball.
“I think we just have to be a little bit more urgent, with some patience.”
Orlando started their second MLS season unbeaten through four games (2-0-2), but since a comprehensive 4-1 victory over the Timbers on April 3 the Lions have gone winless (0-2-1), including a 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls last weekend at Red Bull Arena.
Still, OCSC lead the Eastern Conference with 13 goals scored, with Cyle Larin (4), Kaka (2), Kevin Molino (2) and Adrian Winter (2) all finding the back of the net multiple times.
Past Meetings: Familiar foes played out wild finish in 2-2 draw just two weeks ago
While this weekend’s meeting will be just the fourth all-time between the Revolution and Orlando City, these two sides know each other fairly well after meeting in Florida just 14 days ago.
In one of the wildest finishes in recent memory the teams traded controversial stoppage-time goals in a 2-2 draw, with Lee Nguyen converting the latest penalty in Revolution history (96th minute) to earn New England a point.
“We know what to expect,” Nguyen said of the immediate rematch. “We’ve seen video on them already and now they’re coming into our home field, so we’ll be looking to put the pressure on them.”
That’s exactly what the Revolution did in Orlando City’s only previous visit to Gillette Stadium last September, putting together perhaps their most comprehensive performance of the 2015 season in a 3-0 victory.
Injury Report: Davies (groin) joins Tierney on the sidelines; Bunbury still questionable
Back in the starting lineup for the first time in more than a month, Charlie Davies lasted just 35 minutes on Wednesday night against the Timbers, limping off with a groin injury shortly before halftime.
It was a disappointing blow for a player who’d been so eager to get an opportunity, and for a team that could use Davies’ energy as they search for an offensive spark.
“You hate it to be Charlie, our center forward, who I think was champing at the bit to get a goal,” Heaps said. “He’s the one guy on our team that really has that hunger for the goal a little bit ahead of everyone else. It was tough to see him go down.”
Davies will miss Saturday night’s visit from Orlando, as will Chris Tierney, who remains sidelined with a left hamstring strain. Donnie Smith made his first start in more than two years in Tierney’s place on Wednesday.
Teal Bunbury, who was also unavailable against the Timbers, could be back in the mix as he continues to be questionable with a left hamstring injury.
Orlando were without dynamic playmaker Kaka for last weekend’s loss at Red Bull Arena, but the Brazilian maestro should be available on Saturday after overcoming a mild groin strain.
Final Thoughts: Goncalves says Revs need to avoid “the small mistakes” against Orlando
“In the last few games we see small mistakes lead to a goal,” said captain and center back Jose Goncalves. “We need to try to avoid those mistakes because at the end of the game, we get frustrated and it’s always because of the small mistakes.
“It’s not that the other teams are playing great soccer and just beating us in every part of the game. It’s not that at all. I think if we avoid those mistakes and if we finish those chances, we can grab the three points.”