FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’ll be another few days before the New England Revolution return to league action, but the long wait for a game is finally over as the Revs will kick off their 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign on Wednesday night against the Carolina RailHawks.
The Revs will visit the RailHawks (NASL) at WakeMed Soccer Park, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. Dean Linke and Sam Stockley will call the game on a live stream via U.S. Soccer’s YouTube channel. A link to that live stream will be provided on revolutionsoccer.net and all social channels once it’s available.
Current Form: Revs “ready to get back after it” following 18-day break from action
It’s been almost three weeks since the Revolution’s 2-1 win over Seattle Sounders FC, a result that moved the Revs to 3-4-7 (16 pts.) after winning a pair of games on their three-game homestand. Lee Nguyen notched one goal and one assist for a third straight game, while Femi Hollinger-Janzen continued his remarkable rookie season with the game-winning goal in the late stages.
Now rested and refreshed following an 18-day break during the group stage of Copa America the Revs are eager to get back on the field, and they’re particularly keen on making a deep run in the Open Cup after a disappointing exit at this stage of the competition last year.
“This year, going down to Carolina, it’s not an easy place to go,” said goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who was named to the NASL Best XI while playing for the RailHawks in 2011. “They’ve done very well in the Open Cup the last couple of years and we’re aware of that. This year we’re fully focused on this tournament and looking forward to hopefully getting a W and moving on to the next round.”
The RailHawks do have a history of taking down MLS sides in the Open Cup – they’ve won six of their 11 all-time meetings with MLS teams in the competition – but they’ve had a rollercoaster NASL season. Since winning their first four games they’ve gone 0-4-2, dropping to seventh in the NASL standings.
Carolina did, however, explode for five goals in their third-round win over the Charlotte Independence to set up this meeting with the Revs, scoring all five goals in extra time after a scoreless 90 minutes.
“We know them well,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “We have a relationship with their head coach. We know this group, we watch this group during the year; a very good team. They have players that have played in MLS and have done well in MLS, and now are continuing to do well in Carolina.”
Past Meetings: Revs and RailHawks set to renew Open Cup acquaintances after nine years
Before the Revolution lifted the U.S. Open Cup trophy in 2007, they had to get through the RailHawks.
Jeff Larentowicz and Pat Noonan were the goal scorers as the Revs came from behind to down the RailHawks in overtime of a hotly-contested semifinal, setting up New England’s championship game meeting with FC Dallas that the Revs went on to win.
While that’s the only meeting of consequence between the sides, they did square off in both the 2009 and 2010 preseasons, both at WakeMed Soccer Park. Heaps – then a player – captained the Revolution in the 2009 showdown, a 1-0 win for the RailHawks.
Injury Report: Davies and Koffie remain sidelined; Watson wraps up Copa duty
The extended break during the group stage of Copa America gave both Charlie Davies (groin) and Gershon Koffie (knee) time to continue their respective recoveries, but the duo remains sidelined ahead of Wednesday night’s return to action in the Open Cup.
Versatile defender Je-Vaughn Watson wrapped up his Copa America duties on Monday night, playing the full 90 minutes in Jamaica’s 3-0 loss to Uruguay.
Meanwhile, Darrius Barnes – a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, who played for the Cary RailHawks U23s – is questionable for Wednesday night’s game with a hip strain.
Final Thoughts: Knighton says Revs have “no excuses” ahead of Open Cup showdown
“It’s a big field,” said Knighton, who made 28 appearances during his time with the RailHawks. “They renovated the stadium. The stadium is brand new and the pitch is always great. It’s going to be hot. They’re saying 97 degrees and a possible thunderstorm. That’s pretty typical this time of year. You’ve got to be ready for any conditions, but we’ll be ready to go. No excuses. Get it done.”