Lemieux Preview 04/15

Preview: Revs return to the road looking to stretch unbeaten run to four vs. Chicago

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Windy City awaits the New England Revolution, who’ll visit the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening looking to stretch their unbeaten run to four games.

The Revs (2-2-1, 7 pts.) and Fire (2-1-2, 8 pts.) will kick off at 5 p.m. ET at Toyota Park, with Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner handling the English call on CSN New England, 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2 and Sirius XM Channel 85. Portuguese radio listeners can follow the action on WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.

Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on CSN New England.

Revolution fans are invited to attend the club’s official watch party at Arcade at Biergarten (114 Spruce Street, Providence, R.I.), where The Battalion will have several prizes and giveaways.

Current Form: Revs climbing the Eastern Conference table with three-game unbeaten run

A pair of home wins sandwiched around a road draw have the Revs on the move in the East, just three points back of first-place Columbus Crew SC with a game in hand. The Revs enter the weekend as one of five teams on seven points in a jumbled Eastern Conference.

Goals from Kei Kamara and Juan Agudelo highlighted New England’s second-half surge last weekend against the Houston Dynamo, as the Revs kept their first clean sheet of the year in a comfortable 2-0 win.

HIGHLIGHTS: Second-half adjustment and Mother Nature spur Revs to win over Houston

“Through the first few weeks of the season we were doing a good job with defensive shape, from the forwards to the backs and the goalkeeper,” said Scott Caldwell. “But we were letting in little goals here and there.

“We finally were able to put it fully together (against Houston) and eliminate mistakes, and kind of keep it clean in the back. Everyone’s done their job, starting at the top. New guys, old guys; it’s really been good to see everyone come together and put their best foot forward.”

Chicago have gotten off to a strong start in 2017, particularly at home, where the Fire are 2-0-1, including a gutsy 1-0 win over Columbus last weekend.

It was the Fire’s second straight positive result following the arrival of German legend Bastian Schweinsteiger, who joins MLS veterans Dax McCarty and Juninho to form a formidable central midfield triangle.

READ: Kouassi hitting peak form at the base of New England’s midfield

“The team that wins the midfield is going to have a better chance to win the game,” said Lee Nguyen, who had a three-game goal-scoring streak snapped last weekend. “They’ve had major improvements in that [area], so it’s going to be a tough matchup. Those three guys are class, so we’re going to have our hands full.”

Past Meetings: Revs won three of four vs. Fire last year, but have struggled in Chicago

Old rivals New England and Chicago met four times last year with the Revs claiming three wins, including in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Gillette Stadium. But all three of the Revolution’s victories were at home in Foxborough, while they dropped their only visit to Toyota Park.

That October loss in Bridgeview ended the Revolution’s 2016 playoff hopes, and they’ll be looking for redemption this weekend after going 0-3-2 on their last five visits to Illinois. All told the Revs have won just once on their last 13 trips to Chicago.

Injury Report: For a fourth straight week, Revs’ injury report is bare

New England’s injury report is empty once again as rookie center back Josh Smith has fully recovered after undergoing surgery on a fractured right thumb earlier in the week.

Chicago, however, will be without midfielder John Goossens for the next 4-5 months after surgery to repair an ankle injury suffered in the season opener on March 4. Meanwhile, both David Accam (hip) and Luis Solignac (knee) are listed as questionable on the official injury report.

Final Thoughts: Revs aim to keep rolling in first “six-point game” of the season

“Obviously we want to win all the games, but Eastern Conference games are kind of like six-point games,” said Andrew Farrell. “We don’t want to let another team [get] ahead of us and Chicago is a team that has been doing great this year.

“It’s going to be a good test and a tough task for us to take on this Chicago team, but the past three games have been good results and we want to build on that and keep that going.”

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