FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The acquisition of forward Kei Kamara before Wednesday night’s transfer deadline has brought a renewed sense of energy to the New England Revolution ahead of a critical three-game homestand that begins on Saturday night against the Chicago Fire.
Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. as the Revs (1-3-7, 10 pts.) and Fire (1-3-4, 7 pts.) will meet for the first time in 2016. Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Jessie Coffield will have the call in English on CSN and 98.5 The Sports Hub, while Portuguese radio listeners can catch the action on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Postgame shows will air on both television and radio. Tom Giles and Ethan Zohn will handle postgame duties on CSN, while Matt McCarthy and Shalrie Joseph will be answering calls on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Winless in six, Revs eyeing three-game homestand as a “huge opportunity”
A second-half surge so nearly helped the Revs produce an epic comeback last weekend at StubHub Center as only the crossbar prevented them from drawing level after trailing the LA Galaxy 3-0 at halftime. A late goal from Steven Gerrard sunk the Revs in a 4-2 loss, however, and they’re now winless in six (0-2-4).
Moving forward the Revs are hoping to rekindle the fire they had in the second half of that match, but they’ll be hoping to find the needed spark much earlier against the Fire.
“We have the ability to do that from the start, but we’ve just got to find whatever that switch is and turn it on in the first minute as opposed to the 75th minute,” said center back Andrew Farrell. “It’s something we’ve obviously got to work on. Saturday’s a big, big game for us.”
Chicago were in action midweek, suffering a 2-1 road loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps to keep them on the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. All three of the Fire’s losses have been by a single goal, however, and head coach Jay Heaps is wary of Chicago’s retooled roster.
“They’re a different team,” Heaps said. “We haven’t seen them yet. They have different personnel, so it’s going to be adjusting to what they do and watching more film and getting our guys up to speed on Chicago.”
Past Meetings: Eastern Conference rivals split a trio of meetings in 2015
Longtime foes New England and Chicago split three regular-season meetings right down the middle last year, with each side winning once at home, sandwiched around a 2-2 draw at Toyota Park.
The Revs won the only meeting in Foxborough, 2-0, behind goals from Diego Fagundez and Charlie Davies, and New England have now won five of the last six meetings between the sides at Gillette Stadium.
A remarkable eight playoff encounters in a 10-year span sparked a once-heated rivalry between the sides, although they haven’t met in the postseason since 2009.
Injury Report: Goncalves, Tierney, Bunbury all questionable; Davies and Smith both out
Chris Tierney is hoping to make his return to the field on Saturday night after missing three games with a left hamstring injury, but Jose Goncalves is likely to miss out after suffering a chest injury in the late stages of last weekend’s match in California. Both are listed as questionable, as is Teal Bunbury.
While question marks surround that trio, both Charlie Davies and Donnie Smith will be sidelined as they recover from a groin injury and a hamstring strain, respectively.
Chicago will be without midfielder John Goossens, out with a sprained knee, while David Accam and Collin Fernandez are both listed as questionable.
Final Thoughts: Kamara “ready to play” after training with the Revs on Friday morning
“If my name is called tomorrow and [coach Heaps] tells me later that he’s ready to use me from minute one, I’ll be ready,” Kamara said after completing his first training session with the Revs on Friday morning. “Or, if he says, ‘I’m going to bring you on (as a substitute),’ I’m going to be ready.”