FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – One more time, with feeling.
Almost seven months after kicking off their 2017 home schedule the New England Revolution (11-15-6, 39 pts.) will close it out on Sunday evening, hosting New York City FC (16-8-8, 56 pts.) at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. with Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama handling the English call on NBC Sports Boston and 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2. Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM.
Revolution Pregame LIVE with Gabriella DiGiovanni and Jeff Lemieux will stream live on the Revolution’s official Facebook page at 4:30 p.m., while Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on NBC Sports Boston.
Fans attending the match are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank. Donations will be collected outside all stadium gates beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Current Form: Revs set sights on club record 12th home win
Last weekend’s results officially eliminated the Revolution from playoff contention, but there is still plenty to play for in the final two games of the regular season, including a chance to make a bit of history on Sunday.
A win against New York City FC would be the Revolution’s 12th of the year at Gillette Stadium, which could not only tie them for most home victories in the league this year, but also establish a new club record for home wins in a single season.
There is frustration, of course, that the Revs could potentially set that record in a year in which they’ll miss the postseason, but nevertheless, players want to give the fans a proper sendoff on Fan Appreciation Night.
“We’ve been solid at home, and it’s been our fort,” said Diego Fagundez. “We just need to keep doing that. It’s the last (home) game, so we have to enjoy it as much as possible and make sure everybody is happy when they leave.”
The only group the Revs don’t want to be happy when they leave is New York City FC. Patrick Vieira’s side is currently perched in second place in the Eastern Conference, clinging to a precious first-round bye. But Atlanta United FC, Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew SC are all within striking distance, giving the Revs an opportunity to play a big-time spoiler role this weekend.
“I think there are teams that are champing at the bit to knock these teams off and disrupt the seeding, because obviously home-field advantage in the playoffs is huge,” said Brad Knighton, who kept a clean sheet in the Revolution’s 0-0 draw with Atlanta two weeks ago. “If we can play a part in that, we’ll look to do that.”
Past Meetings: More late drama on the cards in the third and final matchup?
New England and NYCFC have already met twice this year – both times at Yankee Stadium – and both meetings were decided with dramatic goals after the 85th minute.
Xavier Kouassi’s heroic effort to nod home an 86th-minute equalizer while limping heavily earned the Revs a 2-2 draw back in May, while Jonathan Lewis was the hero for NYCFC in August, scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time to secure a come-from-behind, 2-1 win for the hosts.
It’s been more than a year since NYCFC visited Gillette Stadium, where Juan Agudelo, Lee Nguyen and Diego Fagundez were on the board in the Revs’ comfortable 3-1 victory last September.
Injury Report: Rowe returns to training; full squad available ahead of home finale
The Revolution’s entire 26-man squad was present and accounted for on the training field late this week, giving interim head coach Tom Soehn plenty of options ahead of the home finale.
New England’s sessions have included Kelyn Rowe as a full participant, as he eyes a return from the right knee sprain that has kept him sidelined since the Revs’ last meeting with NYCFC on August 20.
Soehn has said he’ll continue to be cautious with Rowe, and also the four players who’ve recently returned from international duty: Juan Agudelo, Antonio Delamea, Zach Herivaux and Je-Vaughn Watson.
“I’m going to be real careful [with] them,” Soehn said. “A lot of those guys came on long flights and have been spending time far away, so we’re going to work with most of the guys that have been here and ease them back in little by little.”
Final Thoughts: Posting one of league’s best home records “a big goal” for Revs
“Guys are playing for contracts for next season and playing for their jobs,” said Knighton. “We’re not sure about who’s going to come in here and be the manager next year, but the thing that we can control is that we win on Sunday and we post one of the best records in MLS at home. That’s a big goal for us.
“And obviously when we go to Montreal next weekend (the goal is) to get that first road win. There’s still plenty to play for, and if guys don’t realize that, you’re in the wrong profession.”