FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Same opponent, different competition.
Just eight days after battling in league play the New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls will meet once again on Thursday night, this time in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal. Kickoff from Jordan Field on the campus of Harvard University is set for 7:30 p.m.
Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will have the call on the live stream on revolutionsoccer.net and ussoccer.com.
Current Form: Gold Cup break offers Revs chance to “reset” ahead of Open Cup quarters
It’s been a frustrating month for the Revolution (5-9-5, 20 pts.), who’ve followed up a 3-1-1 stretch in league play with four straight losses, including a pair of defeats at Gillette Stadium, their first two home losses since last August.
Last week’s 3-2 loss to the Red Bulls was the most recent blow, and with four days off after that match courtesy of the league-wide break for the CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage, players and coaches alike spent that time mentally and physically regrouping after a difficult stretch.
“It’s always good to have some time off,” said Kei Kamara. “Through the rough patch we’re going through right now it definitely helps when you get some time off to rest your mind, refresh yourself, come back and really be ready all over again.”
The bright spot for New England through the current run of form has been the Open Cup, as wins over the Rochester Rhinos and D.C. United have sent the Revs into the quarterfinals once again, one year after they finished as runners up in the domestic cup competition.
The Red Bulls (8-8-2, 26 pts.), meanwhile, have had a rollercoaster season, captured within their last five games as they’ve alternated between wins and losses since late May. Currently they sit two points back of the playoff places in the Eastern Conference.
New York’s run to the Open Cup quarterfinals has featured a pair of wins over MLS opponents, as they advanced past rival New York City FC in the Fourth Round before downing the Union (via penalty shootout) in the Round of 16.
Past Meetings: Old rivals prepare to clash for a second time in eight days
New England and New York have met twice in recent weeks – both regular-season matchups – with the Red Bulls claiming one-goal victories in both Harrison (May 27) and Foxborough (July 5).
The Revs scored first and led at halftime on both occasions, but twice the Red Bulls have stormed back, including last Wednesday when Gonzalo Veron’s 90th-minute winner claimed the full three points for the visitors.
Now the sides will meet for a third time within the past month-and-a-half, and just eight days after last week’s highly-charged showdown at Gillette Stadium, there’s no question there will be a little something extra between the sides on Thursday night.
“Any time we get to play this team, there’s always a little something added, something extra, and to play each other twice in a week, it makes things interesting,” said Scott Caldwell. “It’s a big game, a quarterfinal game; any time you have the chance to get to the semifinals, advance in the Open Cup, you want to take it.”
This will be the fourth all-time U.S. Open Cup meeting between the Revs and Red Bulls and the first since 2013, when Kelyn Rowe scored a pair of goals in the Revs’ 4-2 victory in a game also played at Harvard University.
Injury Report: Kouassi (quad) “back in the mix” after six-week absence
Rowe (U.S. National Team), Juan Agudelo (U.S. National Team) and Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica) will once again be unavailable on Thursday night as they remain on Gold Cup duty, but the Revs could have a key piece of their central midfield back on the field for the first time in weeks.
Xavier Kouassi, sidelined since the end of May with a quad injury, is back in full training and is now working on improving his fitness as he aims to make his long-awaited return.
“He’s been a pretty big loss for us in terms of the personality and in terms of what he brings to the field,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “We’re much better with him on the field. That’s good.
“We want to be smart. We don’t want to overdo it, but it’s good to have him back in the mix.”
Final Thoughts: Tierney expects “things to get a little bit nasty” in rematch with Red Bulls
“New York Red Bulls are a team that brings a high compete level, so we have to match that,” said Chris Tierney. “Especially on our home turf, we have to put the result right from last week.
“I think you’ll see us play with an edge. They’re going to play with an edge like they usually do, so I expect things to get a little bit nasty, as they usually do when rivals play each other. We’ve got to be up for the battle and the challenge, and I think we’ll be ready.”