VANCOUVER – The New England Revolution head north of the border for the first time this year as they’ll make their long-awaited return to league action on Saturday night against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Kickoff from BC Place is set for 7 p.m. ET as both the Revs (3-4-7, 16 pts.) and Whitecaps (6-6-3, 21 pts.) resume MLS action for the first time in three weeks. Neither side has played a league game since May 28 as MLS took an extended break during the group stage of Copa America Centenario.
Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will have the English call on both CSN and 98.5 The Sports Hub, while Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Host Matt McCarthy and analyst Shalrie Joseph will also take your calls for 30 minutes after the final whistle on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s postgame show.
Current Form: With three wins from four in all competitions, Revs growing in confidence
It took 30 minutes of extra time – not to mention a two-hour and 14-minute weather delay – but the Revs outlasted the Carolina RailHawks (NASL) on Wednesday night to set up a meeting with the New York Cosmos (NASL) in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.
Homegrown standout Zach Herivaux scored the game’s only goal at WakeMed Soccer Park, marking his first professional start with a stylish debut goal.
The victory over Carolina means the Revolution have now won three of their last four games in all competitions – a sharp turnaround after winning just one of their first 11 league games.
“Momentum’s always important,” said Chris Tierney, who played 40 minutes off the bench on Wednesday night. “Coming off wins, you feel better. You wake up the next morning with that little extra bit of energy to go attack training and the next game.
“We’re trying to carry momentum here. We’re looking at this second half as a new season and we’re 1-0 so far, so we’re going to look to make it 2-0.”
The Whitecaps head into the weekend well rested, having not played for 10 days since a 3-0 win over Ottawa Fury FC (NASL) in the second leg of an Amway Canadian Championship series. While the Whitecaps have had their struggles on the road, they’ve been quite strong at home, going 4-1-3 this year at BC Place.
Past Meetings: Revs prepare to make just their third-ever visit to Vancouver
The Revs and Whitecaps cannot have been more evenly matched through their brief six-game all-time series, with each side winning twice to go along with a pair of draws. Four of those matches have been at Gillette Stadium, while just two have been in British Columbia.
In fact, the Revs haven’t visited BC Place in three years. On their last visit in June 2013 an early red card to Andrew Farrell handcuffed New England, who still almost came away with a result in a wild 4-3 loss.
Oddly enough Farrell was sent off against the Whitecaps again last year – those are the only two ejections of his career – as the Revs had their club record 17-game home unbeaten run snapped in a 2-1 loss.
Injury Report: Koffie misses out on potential return to Vancouver; Davies still sidelined
Whitecaps fans were very much looking forward to welcoming Gershon Koffie back to BC Place – the central midfielder was a fan favorite during his six seasons in Vancouver – but unfortunately a right knee sprain suffered back in late May will prevent him from making his return on Saturday night.
Charlie Davies (groin) remains sidelined, as well, while Darrius Barnes (hip) is still questionable after missing the midweek trip to North Carolina.
Vancouver will be missing a trio of key players through suspension on Saturday night as Octavio Rivero, Pedro Morales and Kendall Waston are all unavailable. They’ll watch from the sidelines along with the injured Christian Dean and Masato Kudo.
Final Thoughts: Strong start a must after midweek marathon in North Carolina
“They’re a very good team,” Revs head coach Jay Heaps said of the Whitecaps. “There are going to be times when we have to keep the ball, and there are going to be times when we have to defend. In the end, it’s going to be a really tough game.
“Our guys have got to know going in that we can’t win it early, but we can lose it early, so we’ve got to be smart and make sure that we don’t give it away. Be sharp to begin with and see if we can take our chances.”