FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With a disappointing homestand in the rearview mirror the New England Revolution will look to bounce back in a pair of road games this week, beginning on Wednesday night when they’ll make their first-ever visit to Avaya Stadium to battle the San Jose Earthquakes.
Kickoff from northern California is set for 10:30 p.m. ET, with Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner handling the local call in English on both CSN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Portuguese radio listeners can catch the action on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Both the Revs (6-11-8, 26 pts.) and Earthquakes (7-7-10, 31 pts.) enter their midweek matchup below the red line in their respective conferences, but both could potentially climb back into the playoff places with a win on Wednesday night.
Current Form: Revs out to prove they’re a better team than recent results suggest
Back-to-back home games against the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew SC were viewed as a chance for the Revs to get back on track, but instead a pair of shutout losses saw the Revs slip out of the Eastern Conference playoff places. All together the Revs have now suffered four straight league defeats.
Those dropped points at home make this week’s road trip all the more important, as the Revs will visit the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon after the midweek visit to San Jose.
“It just makes the road games that much more vital,” said Scott Caldwell. “We’ve got to get results out here, bring them home, and get more points at home.”
“We need three points in every game,” added Gershon Koffie. “We’re here to get some points.”
A big factor in New England’s recent struggles has been their propensity for conceding early goals. The Revs conceded inside 10 minutes against both Philadelphia and Columbus, while both of those opponents also scored in the first 10 minutes of the second half, as well.
As such, a strong mentality in the opening stages of Wednesday night’s match will be crucial.
“It’s always important (to start well),” said head coach Jay Heaps. “Quite frankly, we’ve given up too many goals, too early. We have to be solid to start each game.”
San Jose is coming off a rare home loss to the Houston Dynamo this past weekend, a result that snapped the Earthquakes’ five-game unbeaten run. It was just their second loss of the season at Avaya Stadium, where they were previously 6-1-4 on the year.
“They’re an experienced team. They’ve got guys that have been around for a while,” said Heaps. “We have to manage what we do really well, and make sure that we limit what they do.”
Past Meetings: Revs aiming for fourth straight win over SJ on first trip to Avaya Stadium
Wednesday night will mark the Revolution’s first-ever visit to Avaya Stadium, a venue the Earthquakes opened ahead of the 2015 campaign. The Revs did, however, win on their last visit to San Jose, getting a late goal from Lee Nguyen in a 2-1 victory back in March 2014 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
In fact, the Revs have won their last three meetings with the Earthquakes, including a snowy encounter at Gillette Stadium last March, a 2-1 New England victory inspired by a pair of goals from Kelyn Rowe.
Prior to their current three-game winning streak in the series, the Revs had dropped three straight against San Jose. The two sides have tied just once in 12 meetings since the Earthquakes’ reintroduction to the league in 2008.
Injury Report: Woodberry suspended; Goncalves and Watson both questionable
New England may need to make some adjustments to their backline on Wednesday night. London Woodberry will serve a one-game suspension for caution accumulation, while Jose Goncalves (hamstring) and Je-Vaughn Watson (groin) are both questionable on the official injury report.
Watson missed the loss to Columbus, while Goncalves limped off in the late stages. Asked how the Revs would adjust to the circumstances midweek, Heaps said it’s a case of “next man up.”
At the other end of the field, Femi Hollinger-Janzen has come off the injury report as the Revs look to regain the services of their sparkplug rookie forward.
San Jose have been coping with some injury concerns themselves, as Marc Pelosi (knee), Mark Sherrod (knee), Bryan Meredith (abdominal), Clarence Goodson (back) and Fatai Alashe (hamstring) are all currently out.
Final Thoughts: Caldwell says Revs can use frustration “as a motivational tool”
“You’ve just got to use it as a motivational tool,” Caldwell said of the Revolution’s frustration following a poor run of results. “We definitely haven’t been at our best, but we get back on the field quickly Wednesday night, and that’s all we can ask.
“We’ve got to get back on and just prove to everyone that we’re not how we’ve been performing lately, and we’re a better team than that.”