FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution (5-6-5, 20 pts.) will go international for the first time this season on Friday night, when they’ll visit league-leading Toronto FC (9-2-5, 32 pts.) at BMO Field.
Kickoff from north of the border is set for 8 p.m. ET, with Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner on the call for both CSN New England and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM.
Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on CSN New England.
Current Form: Revs hit the road aiming to bounce back from first home loss in 10 months
New England’s 11-game home unbeaten run (9-0-2) came to an end last weekend at the hands of the Chicago Fire, who withstood a late Revolution barrage en route to a 2-1 triumph in Foxborough. It was the Revs’ first loss at Gillette Stadium since last August, and snapped a string of five straight home wins against Chicago.
Now the Revolution’s task will be to bounce back on the road, where they’ve gone 0-5-3 this season and remain one of four MLS teams still searching for their first victory away from home.
They’ve been close on several occasions – three times they’ve held halftime leads on the road – but they know that a full 90-minute, mistake-free performance will be necessary to finally get over the hump on Friday night.
“The start is very important,” said Chris Tierney. “You see what happens when we don’t start well; we get results like we did against Chicago. There are games that we’ve started well, like last time we played against Toronto where we put the game on our terms and it goes in our favor. That’s definitely a focus of ours this week.”
Toronto FC have not only been one of the league’s best sides through the first half of the season, they’ve also been red-hot at home for the past two months, winning six straight games at BMO Field.
Greg Vanney’s group has used a balanced attack and staunch defense to generate Major League Soccer’s best goal differential (+13) through 16 games, led by Jozy Altidore (seven goals, four assists), Sebastian Giovinco (six goals, three assists), and newcomer Victor Vazquez (three goals, league-leading eight assists).
“(They’re) a team that uses a lot of their depth, and we’ve seen a lot of their players, so we’re excited for that challenge,” said Andrew Farrell. “They’re a great team. They’re good at home, and we’re excited to play against them.”
Past Meetings: Revs set out to beat league leaders for second time in three weeks
Benjamin Angoua’s first MLS goal set the stage before Diego Fagundez and Juan Agudelo followed up with second-half tallies to guide the Revs to a 3-0 win over Toronto FC just three weeks ago at Gillette Stadium. It was the second of Toronto’s two losses this year, and the only game they’ve lost by multiple goals.
That’s a performance and a result that will boost the Revs’ confidence ahead of their trip to BMO Field, where they know the task will be entirely different on Friday night.
“They’re a little bit of a different group with some of the national team guys back in, and at the same time, they’re very difficult to play at home,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “I think we caught them on a night where they weren’t ready for us, but I promise you, they’ll be ready for us on Friday night.”
New England’s lone trip to Toronto last year ended with a 4-1 loss – TFC led by a Giovinco hat trick – but the Revs have had plenty of success there recently, going 3-0-3 in six trips to BMO Field between 2011 and 2015.
Overall, last year’s setback in Toronto is the Revs’ only loss to TFC in their last 10 meetings (6-1-3).
Injury Report: Kobayashi (hamstring) joins Kouassi (quad) on the injury report
Xavier Kouassi will miss a third straight league game as he continues to recover from the left quad strain he suffered three weeks ago in New York City, while fellow midfielder Daigo Kobayashi is listed as questionable ahead of the weekend with a hamstring injury.
While Toronto FC have regained the services of Altidore – who played the full 90 minutes and scored in TFC’s 1-1 draw with the Montreal Impact in the Canadian Championship first leg on Wednesday night – they’ll once again be without midfield general Michael Bradley, suspended because of yellow card accumulation.
Final Thoughts: Tierney says Revs “have to be at [their] absolute best” against TFC
“There’s a reason that they’re top of the table right now,” Tierney said of TFC. “They’re a really deep squad. I know that they play on Wednesday, as well, so their depth will be tested, but they’ve proven that they have the quality to win no matter who takes the field for them. It’s going to be a very difficult test and we have to be at our absolute best to get anything out of it.”