FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Let’s try this again.
Two weeks after their original home opener was postponed because of extreme cold in the Northeast, the New England Revolution will finally kick off their 2017 home schedule on Saturday afternoon when they host expansion side Minnesota United FC.
Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 2 p.m., with Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama providing English coverage on CSN New England, 98.5 The Sports Hub and Sirius XM Channel 85. Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Feldman, Mariner and Funayama will also handle postgame duties on CSN New England, while host Rob “Hardy” Poole and analyst Shalrie Joseph will take your calls following the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Revs return home in search of first points after difficult road swing
New England (0-2-0, 0 pts.) came away with zero points from their first two games of the season, a pair of road matches against the top two teams in last year’s Supporters’ Shield standings. But there were positives to take despite the setbacks, as Benjamin Angoua, Antonio Delamea and Xavier Kouassi all made their MLS debuts.
In last weekend’s 2-1 loss to FC Dallas, the Revs capitalized on a bright start through Lee Nguyen’s successful penalty kick and largely shut down Dallas through the opening 70 minutes. But a pair of breakdowns in the late stages allowed Maxi Urruti to score two goals, leaving the Revs with points to ponder as they return home.
“There were moments in both games in Colorado and Dallas that are positives, but we can be better, and I think we all know that,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “Saturday’s another chance to be better.”
Minnesota (0-2-1, 1 pt.) made an inauspicious start to their inaugural MLS campaign, suffering back-to-back 5-1 and 6-1 losses to the Portland Timbers and Atlanta United, respectively. But a series of changes last weekend sparked the expansion side to a 2-2 draw in Colorado, earning the Loons their first point as an MLS club.
“We can’t underestimate Minnesota because of their first two games of the season,” said Kei Kamara. “We look at their last game against Colorado, and they put up two goals.
“We went to Colorado and didn’t come out with a point, but they came out of there with a point, so we have to respect them. But at the same time, we have to make sure that they know what kind of team we are.”
Past Meetings: Revs and Loons set for first-ever showdown on Saturday afternoon
Saturday afternoon will mark the first-ever meeting between the Revolution and Minnesota United FC, which joined MLS this year along with Atlanta United as the league’s 21st and 22nd clubs.
The last time New England faced expansion teams was in 2015, when New York City FC and Orlando City SC played their inaugural seasons in MLS. The Revs had a fair amount of success against the league’s new boys that year, going 3-1-1 against their newest opponents.
Leading the charge as head coach of Orlando City in that expansion season was Adrian Heath, now in charge of Minnesota. The Revs went 1-0-3 against Orlando while Heath was at the helm in 2015 and 2016.
Injury Report: Knighton, Herivaux back in the mix ahead of home opener
The Revs have been given a clean bill of health ahead of Saturday’s home opener as not one player is currently listed on the club’s official injury report.
Brad Knighton has been cleared to return after missing last weekend’s trip to Dallas with a concussion, while Zach Herivaux is also back in full training after the Homegrown midfielder was sidelined for more than a month by the ankle injury he suffered in a preseason match against the Houston Dynamo.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will be missing nine players this weekend because of suspension (Justin Davis), injury (Bernardo Anor, John Alvbage, Patrick McLain, Joseph Greenspan) and international duty (Rasmus Schuller, Francisco Calvo, Johan Venegas, Kevin Molino).
Final Thoughts: Tierney says Revs need to be “buttoned up” on Saturday
“If you look at their first two results of the year, they conceded a bunch of goals,” Chris Tierney said of Minnesota. “So they’ve obviously made a point to try to sure things up and find ways to get points on the road, and I expect that to be no different when they come here.
“Their main objective will be to keep us out and defend, and try to hit us on the counterattack. So we have to make sure that we bring our A game offensively, but also that we’re buttoned up to prevent any cheap goals on the counterattack.”