FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will look to get back in the win column against one of Major League Soccer’s top sides on Saturday night when the Colorado Rapids visit Gillette Stadium.
The Rapids (11-4-10, 43 pts.) have the league’s second-best points-per-game average (1.72) and are currently tied for third in the overall MLS standings, while the Revs (6-12-9, 27 pts.) are in a battle to get back above the red line in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Saturday night’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m., with coverage in English on CSN and 98.5 The Sports Hub, and in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA. Both CSN and 98.5 The Sports Hub will have 30-minute postgame shows after the final whistle.
It will also be ThinkTaylor Night at Gillette Stadium, as Revolution legend Taylor Twellman will be honored at halftime and a series of charitable activities will benefit Twellman’s foundation for concussion awareness.
Current Form: Revs look to snap out of scoring funk against league’s best defense
A switch to a 4-4-2 diamond formation has helped the previously leaky Revolution tighten things up defensively – they conceded just one total goal in a pair of road games at San Jose and New York last week – but their struggles have persisted in the attacking third as they’ve now been shut out in four straight games.
The Revs have, at times, found their offensive verve this season – they scored multiple goals in five straight games from April 30 to May 28 – and they remain confident that once they break the ice, goals will flow.
“I think everyone has played this game long enough to know that when the goals come, they’ll keep coming,” said Teal Bunbury. “It’s something we need to do in training. It’s something where everyone has to look at themselves and figure out what they can bring to the team.”
The Rapids suffered just their fourth loss of the season last weekend – and just their second since early April – as they dropped a 2-1 decision at Real Salt Lake. It was also just the fourth time this season the Rapids conceded multiple goals, as they boast the league’s top defense with just 22 goals against in 25 games.
“They’re a very good team and one that can really get stuck in and sit back, and not let a lot of goals in,” said Kelyn Rowe. “For us, with not scoring in a couple games, it’s going to be vital for us to put one away.”
Past Meetings: Revs have won three of four meetings with Rapids under Heaps
New England were winless in eight games (0-3-5) against Colorado when Jay Heaps took charge of the Revolution in 2012, but they’ve since turned the tides, winning three of the last four meetings.
The last two victories have both been by shutout as the Revs blanked the Rapids 3-0 in their most recent meeting at Gillette Stadium in July 2014, while they were 2-0 winners at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last April.
Injury Report: Both sides shorthanded because of international call-ups
Both the Revs and Rapids will be less than full strength on Saturday night as both sides will be missing multiple players to international duty.
New England will be without both Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone) and Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica), both of whom have been regular starters this season. This will be the first match Kamara has missed since the mid-May trade that brought him to the Revolution from Columbus Crew SC.
There is also a potential injury concern for the Revolution as Bunbury is listed as questionable with a right foot injury, although rookie Femi Hollinger-Janzen is eager to make his first appearance since July 16.
There will be no Gillette Stadium return for Jermaine Jones, who’s missed 11 of Colorado’s last 12 games and who remains sidelined with a knee injury. Jones was recently called into U.S. National Team camp ahead of a pair of World Cup qualifiers, but has since rejoined the Rapids.
Four other Rapids players are on international duty, however, including Tim Howard (United States), Shkelzen Gashi (Albania), Marco Pappa (Guatemala) and Mekeil Williams (Trinidad & Tobago).
Final Thoughts: “We need to win the game, plain and simple”
“Colorado’s a great team. They’ve been having a great season. They’re very compact and they have good players all across the board,” said Bunbury. “But for us, we’re playing at home and we need three points. I don’t think there’s much else that needs to be said. We need to come out here and we need to win the game, plain and simple.”