FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The busiest month of the 2017 regular season wraps up on Saturday night when the New England Revolution host expansion side Atlanta United FC for the first time at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff between the Revs (11-15-5, 38 pts.) and Atlanta (15-8-7, 52 pts.) is set for 7:30 p.m., with Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama bringing fans 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.
Revolution Pregame Live with Gabriella DiGiovanni and Jeff Lemieux will stream live on the Revolution’s official Facebook page at 7 p.m., while Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on CSN New England. Rob “Hardy” Poole and Shalrie Joseph will take calls postgame on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Saturday night is Childhood Cancer Awareness Night at Gillette Stadium, where gold elements both in-stadium and on the field will be on full display to wrap up Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Current Form: Another early red card dashes Revs’ hopes of first road win
For the third straight road game Video Review left the Revs shorthanded on Wednesday night in Orlando, where Xavier Kouassi was issued a controversial red card – which was later overturned – after just 11 minutes. Incorrectly reduced to 10 men for the majority of the match, New England opened themselves up and ultimately paid the price in a 6-1 loss to Orlando City SC.
Interim head coach Tom Soehn said he wanted the players to push the controversy of the Kouassi ejection out of their minds ahead of the weekend, but Scott Caldwell admitted that feeling hard done by a questionable call could serve to galvanize the group heading into Saturday night.
“We didn’t react well to it [on Wednesday night] during the game, but we can definitely use that moving forward,” he said. “That’s what we’ll try to do.
“The only way to bounce back is to move on, move forward, learn from our mistakes and just get excited for the Atlanta game. Even though the loss hurt our playoff chances, we still have a chance, so we can’t put our heads down at this point. We’ve got to keep working and try to continue to win games.”
On Saturday night they’ll face an Atlanta side that just became the first expansion team to reach the postseason in their inaugural year since Seattle Sounders FC in 2009, and they’ve done so with a 9-1-4 mark since late June.
This will be Atlanta’s first road game in more than a month after playing six straight contests in Georgia, where they went 5-0-1 while opening up the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Past Meetings: Revs out to avenge heavy loss in Atlanta just two weeks ago
This will be just the second-ever meeting between the Revolution and Atlanta United, and the first – just 16 days ago at Mercedes-Benz Stadium – was a forgettable night from a New England perspective.
A pair of early red cards – both via Video Review – reduced the Revs to nine men and from there the hosts ran rampant, scoring seven times in what was ultimately the largest margin of defeat in Revs history (7-0).
The Revs will now have an immediate chance to avenge that loss, and the manner of that setback will no doubt serve to motivate the players on Saturday night.
“I don’t think it’s easily forgotten,” said Caldwell. “Everyone will remember it, and our focus is just to win.”
Injury Report: Kouassi available for selection after midweek red card overturned
New England’s dismay over Kouassi’s ejection on Wednesday night was justified on Friday afternoon, when the Revs won an appeal to have the red card overturned. Kouassi will now be available for selection against Atlanta; a bit of consolation after the Revs were incorrectly forced to play shorthanded for 79 minutes in Orlando.
Kelyn Rowe, meanwhile, is once again listed as questionable on the Revs’ injury report as he fights his way back from the right knee sprain that has sidelined him for the past seven games.
Final Thoughts: Revs – winners of six straight in Foxborough – “take pride in” home form
“I think the guys are fighters. The past couple games there’ve been things that haven’t gone our way. At home, we’re really good, though,” Andrew Farrell said of the Revs’ form at Gillette Stadium, where they’ve won six straight games and are 11-2-2 on the season. “We take pride in that, and we’re excited to get back in front of our home fans and get this last result out of our heads.”