PORTLAND, Ore. – It’s time for America to meet the New England Revolution.
The Revs (1-2-0, 3 pts.), fresh off their first win of the season and a five-goal explosion last weekend, will visit the Western-Conference-leading Portland Timbers (3-1-0, 9 pts.) on Sunday night at Providence Park.
National television coverage will begin at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, with Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Julie Stewart-Binks on the broadcast team. Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will have the local radio call for listeners on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Last weekend’s win a building block for Revs as they return to the road
A little home cooking did the trick for the Revs last Saturday afternoon, when goals from Juan Agudelo (2), Kei Kamara, Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney led the way to a comprehensive 5-2 win over expansion side Minnesota United FC at Gillette Stadium.
Agudelo opened the scoring in just the fourth minute of that victory and the Revs bagged four goals in the first half, as the hosts were on the front foot from the opening whistle at Gillette Stadium. But as they return to the road this weekend, they’ll need to find the proper balance between aggression and caution.
“At home, it’s risk-reward. On the road, you have to know when to take that risk and when it’s mindful to be smart,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “We’re usually more aggressive than most, but we also have to know the boundaries of what aggressive play will lead to if there’s a turnover, if something goes against us.”
The Timbers have been particularly adept at punishing teams who make mistakes at Providence Park, where the hosts are 2-0-0 with a remarkable nine goals scored to start the season. Diego Valeri (four goals, two assists), and Fanendo Adi (four goals, one assist) have been Portland’s catalysts through the first month, while Darlington Nagbe and Sebastian Blanco also present a serious challenge to visitors.
“They have a very dynamic front four; it’s very similar to Dallas in that sense,” said goalkeeper Cody Cropper. “They’re very attack-minded, very good on the ball. We just have to stay defensively tight throughout the full 90 minutes – not 50, 60 or 70 minutes.”
Past Meetings: Revs visit Timbers in search of their first win – and goal – in Portland
The Timbers have had the upper hand in the series with the Revs in recent years, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, where the Revs are 0-2-1 with zero goals scored since Portland joined MLS in 2011.
New England’s only win over Portland in seven all-time meetings was in Heaps’ home debut as the Revs’ head coach back in March 2012, when Saer Sene’s first-minute header was the difference in a 1-0 triumph.
The teams met just once last year at Gillette Stadium, where Femi Hollinger-Janzen helped force an own goal in the late stages to salvage a 1-1 draw for the Revolution.
Injury Report: Kouassi at full health after staying sidelined last weekend
Xavier Kouassi did not feature in last Saturday’s win over Minnesota after making his MLS debut the previous weekend in Dallas, but the DP midfielder could be in line for a return on Sunday night at Providence Park after training full throughout the week.
Kouassi’s recovery means the Revs visit the Pacific Northwest at full health, as they don’t have anyone listed on their official injury report entering the weekend.
Portland could be without a pair of defenders on Sunday as both Vytas (calf) and Liam Ridgewell (foot) remain questionable after missing the Timbers’ last three games.
Final Thoughts: Delamea says “it’s time for a clean sheet” as Revs tighten defensively
“It was nice to win in front of our fans, but … we need to move our game to a higher level,” said Antonio Delamea. “We need to be [sharper] in defense. I think we allowed Minnesota to score two easy goals. We need to work on that. If we take the same level of performance to Portland, I think we can beat them and we can get a good result there.
“For now, I think we need to work on these easy goals that we’re conceding. I think every goal that we [allowed] was too easy. It’s time for a clean sheet.”