FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A pair of Eastern Conference foes will square off for the second time in just two weeks on Sunday afternoon when the New England Revolution host Columbus Crew SC at Gillette Stadium.
The Revs (3-4-4, 13 pts.) and Crew SC (6-5-1, 19 pts.) will kick off at 2:30 p.m., with Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama handling the English call on CSN New England and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Sunday will be the Revolution’s annual Salute to Heroes, with a series of events around the game designed to honor local military and first responders. Fans coming to the game are encouraged to bring personal care items to be donated to Veteran’s Inc., a national leader in ending homelessness among veterans.
Current Form: Revs aim to use big win over RSL as a springboard into the summer
Four different players scored first-half goals to lift the Revolution to a much-needed 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake last weekend at Gillette Stadium, where the Revs are unbeaten in their last nine games (7-0-2) dating back to last season.
The victory snapped New England’s five-game winless run (0-2-3) and kept them right in the midst of a crowded Eastern Conference, but veteran left back Chris Tierney says it’s vital that the Revs use the performance to push themselves forward into a stretch in which they’ll play eight straight games against teams from the East.
“We’ve just got to try to use the momentum that we gained from the win over RSL, but not get too far ahead of ourselves and don’t feel too good; we still have a lot to improve upon,” Tierney said. “We’ll be playing an Eastern Conference team this weekend which is always a big game for us. We’re looking forward to playing Columbus.”
Crew SC have won two of their last three games, including a dramatic 3-2 road win over the Montreal Impact last weekend behind a masterful performance from Justin Meram. The seventh-year winger scored all three goals for Columbus, including a stoppage-time winner to earn Crew SC a second road win in five attempts.
Meram is just one piece of Crew SC’s three-headed attacking monster, joined by Ola Kamara (six goals, one assist) and Federico Higuain (four goals, four assists).
“They play a very specific system that’s very difficult to defend against,” said Tierney. “If we get it right, it’ll be tough for them, but if we don’t, they have the ability to punish us.”
Past Meetings: Early-season rematch pits Revs vs. Crew SC for second time in two weeks
Within the past nine months Columbus have won three consecutive meetings with New England, all by the same 2-0 scoreline. Two of those meetings were at MAPFRE Stadium, while the other was in Foxborough.
The most recent of those 2-0 results happened just two weeks ago – when Ola Kamara and Federico Higuain scored either side of halftime to sink the Revs in Columbus – and the proximity of the two matchups makes for an interesting dynamic on Sunday afternoon.
“I love it,” said Lee Nguyen, who had one goal and two assists last weekend against RSL. “I’m ready to play them again. It was a little sour taste the way we ended the game in Columbus. We felt like we deserved more from that game.
“To have them back now, back at our place, I’m looking forward to it.”
Injury Report: Agudelo on the mend after missing win over Real Salt Lake
Head coach Jay Heaps said Revolution leading scorer Juan Agudelo is “coming along” after missing last weekend’s win over RSL with an “upper extremity injury.” By midweek, Agudelo was working off to the side with New England’s strength and conditioning staff during training sessions.
Kei Kamara replaced Agudelo in the starting lineup last weekend as he returned after missing two games while he and his wife awaited the birth of their second child.
Final Thoughts: At home, Revs aim to strike proper balance between defense and attack
“Yes, but you also have to bring so much more,” Heaps said when asked if the Revs make defensive resolve their key focus at home. “It’s critical that we make it a very difficult place for teams to come in and play, but at the same time, we also have to open ourselves up to attack. You’re looking for the right times to blend those two.”