FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will close out their busiest stretch of the season on Saturday night when they’ll host Columbus Crew SC in their fifth game in the past 15 days.
Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. as both the Revs (4-7-7, 19 pts.) and Crew SC (3-6-7, 16 pts.) try to climb up the Eastern Conference table. 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 tune into WMVX 1570 AM.
Kevin Walsh will host the postgame show on CSN, with analysis from Ethan Zohn.
Current Form: Revs aim to get back on track after three straight losses in league play
New England’s long-awaited homecoming ended in frustration on Wednesday night as Frank Lampard’s second-half goal sank the Revolution in a 1-0 loss to New York City FC. It was just the Revolution’s second home loss this season and the first time they were shut out at Gillette Stadium since the home opener on March 12.
The Revs have now lost three straight games in league play and have been blanked in two of those matches, leaving head coach Jay Heaps calling for a more determined performance against Columbus.
“We feel like we could’ve done more [against NYCFC],” Heaps said. “We want to make sure that we leave it all on the field. We were good in moments and could’ve had chances to score goals, but in the end, we didn’t.
“Our reaction has to be positive. What can we do more? Roll up our sleeves and if we can do more, do more.”
Columbus enter the weekend three points back of the Revs in the Eastern Conference standings having gone winless in their last four league games (0-2-2). Crew SC have lost just once at MAPFRE Stadium, but they’ve struggled away from home with just three points from eight road trips (0-5-3).
What Columbus do have is an in-form striker as Ola Kamara – no relation to former Crew SC teammate and current Revolution forward Kei – has bagged seven goals in the past five MLS matches.
“Ola Kamara’s been excellent for them; good runs off the ball and does some good things attacking-wise,” said Heaps. “We have to be prepared for him, but they also have other options and other weapons.
“The game’s going to be a lot about us; making sure that we deal with them, but play our game.”
Past Meetings: Kei Kamara, once a Revs-killer, prepares to face his former team
Kei Kamara had a pair of goals for Columbus the last time the Revolution and Crew SC squared off last June – but he’s since switched sides following the May 12 trade that brought him from Ohio to New England.
Columbus took the 2015 season series with a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium and that 2-1 win at MAPFRE Stadium, but overall the Revs have had great success against Crew SC under Heaps. In their last 11 meetings with Columbus – including a pair of playoff victories in 2014 – the Revs are 7-3-1.
Injury Report: Knighton in line for a return between the pipes with Shuttleworth suspended
Brad Knighton is likely to resume starting goalkeeper duties on Saturday night with Bobby Shuttleworth suspended. Knighton appeared in three straight league games (going 1-2-0) before Shuttleworth’s return against New York City FC, but Shuttleworth was sent off in the dying moments and won’t be available this weekend.
“Obviously we were disappointed that we had to get the red card [against NYCFC]. I thought Bobby had a really good performance,” Heaps said. “But it’s good that Brad’s had a good run of games lately. We’ll get him back in. It’s just the next guy up.”
Shuttleworth will be joined on the sidelines by Charlie Davies (groin), Donnie Smith (hamstring), Juan Agudelo (knee) and Xavier Kouassi (knee), the latter of whom was recently officially added to the Revolution’s roster and will now continue his rehab from knee surgery in New England.
Gershon Koffie, meanwhile, has been upgraded to questionable as he pushes to return from the knee injury that has kept him off the field since mid-May.
Columbus is also dealing with both suspension and injury this weekend; Tyson Wahl will be unavailable after being red carded in Crew SC’s last game, while Federico Higuain (hernia), Matt Pacifici (concussion) and Gaston Sauro (knee) are all sidelined by injury.
Final Thoughts: Revs set sights on winning all remaining home games, beginning Saturday
“Obviously it’s not where we want to be at the middle of the season, but we’re not far off the point total we had last year around this time,” said Knighton. “You’ve got to keep it in perspective. We’ve got half the season left and three or four games in the win column puts you right at the top of the table.
“We win every game at home from here on out and we’re in the playoffs. That’s kind of the mindset we have. Everything’s positive in our locker room. We’re trying to get everybody on the same page and just stick together through these rough times, because it really shows the character of this team if we’re able to bounce back from this, which I think we will be.”