CARSON, Calif. – MLS Soccer Sunday features a bicoastal battle this weekend as the New England Revolution visit the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on ESPN.
Coverage of the inter-conference matchup begins at 3:30 p.m. ET, with the Revs (1-2-7, 10 pts.) and Galaxy (4-1-3, 15 pts.) both looking to make an impression in front of a national television audience. Adrian Healey will have the call alongside Revolution legend Taylor Twellman, with Monica Gonzalez on the sideline.
Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will handle the local radio call on 98.5 The Sports Hub, while Rich Keefe and Shalrie Joseph will bring fans a 30-minute postgame show on the Sports Hub after the final whistle.
The local radio call will also be available in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Fans looking to catch the action alongside fellow Revolution supporters can do so at the club’s official watch party at Murphy’s Law in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The event begins at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Current Form: New England aiming to shake reputation as kings of the draw
The Revolution viewed last week’s back-to-back home games against the Portland Timbers and Orlando City SC as a perfect opportunity to break out of an early-season funk, but they were left somewhat frustrated as they settled for a pair of draws, moving their record at Gillette Stadium this season to 1-0-4.
Now, as they head back out on the road, the Revs will need to show the resolve that’s helped them pick up three draws from five road games, but with an extra touch of class to get them over the hump.
“We’ve shown that we’re a formidable team going on the road when we get results, and we’re looking to do the same,” said Lee Nguyen, who had a pair of assists in the recent 2-2 draw with Orlando. “LA has shown that they’re a strong team with a lot of attacking pieces, but at the same time, we feel like we’re a team that can break any team down.”
The Galaxy’s varied attacking weapons have helped them score a league-leading 18 goals through just eight games, led by Giovani Dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes, both of whom have four goals and two assists this season.
LA have been particularly good at StubHub Center, where they’re 38-5-12 since the start of the 2013 season and 3-0-1 through four home games in 2016.
“It’s a very difficult place to play,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “The Galaxy play well at home. It’s one of the biggest fields in the league. It’s a team that knows how the stretch the field and make those lines stretched. That’s what they do a good job of. They’ve got a lot of talent on that team.”
Past Meetings: Revs head back to StubHub Center for the first time since MLS Cup 2014
Sunday afternoon’s nationally-televised tilt will be the Revolution’s first time back at StubHub Center since suffering a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Galaxy in extra time of MLS Cup 2014.
Their last regular-season visit to the venue was also in 2014, when they suffered a 5-1 loss as A.J. Soares was ejected early in the first half. But they have won in LA as recently as 2012, when they rolled to a 3-1 victory in Heaps’ first-ever road win as head coach.
Last year’s lone meeting was a rain-soaked affair at Gillette Stadium, where four first-half goals couldn’t separate the sides as they finished deadlocked at 2-2.
Injury Report: Health a mixed bag for Revs, who “came through okay” after busy week
Initial fears were that as many as seven Revolution players could be sidelined for Sunday’s visit to StubHub Center, and while the Revs will be somewhat shorthanded, the situation isn’t as bad as first thought.
Neither Lee Nguyen nor Je-Vaughn Watson are on the injury report after coming off early in last weekend’s draw with Orlando, while Teal Bunbury (hamstring) is questionable after missing both of last week’s home games. Chris Tierney (hamstring), who has also missed the last two games, has also been upgraded to questionable.
Donnie Smith, however, will miss this weekend’s game after suffering a hamstring injury against Orlando, while Charlie Davies (groin) and Steve Neumann (knee) also remain sidelined.
LA will be without left back Ashley Cole, who’ll serve a one-game suspension after he was issued a pair of yellow cards in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City. Central midfielder Nigel de Jong is eligible to return from a three-game suspension, but reports indicate he might be unavailable with an undisclosed injury.
The Galaxy could, however, regain the services of two key veterans. Robbie Keane, who’s missed the last five games following knee surgery, has returned to full training and could be available on Sunday. Same goes for Steven Gerrard, who missed the draw with SKC because of a groin injury.
Final Thoughts: Nguyen confident Revs will generate chances against the Galaxy
“I think the way we played (against Orlando) set us up for a lot of chances,” said Nguyen. “Juan (Agudelo) coming in, his first touch was a goal, so that’s good for his confidence. He almost had a second towards the end.
“Going forward, I think the way we’re playing right now, we’re going to create more chances.”