FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s been almost five months (or 147 days, if you’re counting) since the New England Revolution last took the field in front of their home supporters at Gillette Stadium, but the wait is finally over as the Revs will open up their home slate on Saturday afternoon against the Colorado Rapids.
Kickoff is set for 1:30 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, while Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Revolution Pregame LIVE returns for a second year as Elizabeth Pehota and Jeff Lemieux will co-host the live stream on the Revolution’s official Facebook page at 1 p.m., while Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on NBC Sports Boston.
Current Form: Revs put frustrating opener in the rearview; Rapids kick off 2018 campaign
New England kicked off the Brad Friedel era last weekend in Philadelphia, where they were done in by another first-half red card in a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union. Both of the Revolution’s starting center backs were sent off at Talen Energy Stadium – Antonio Delamea in the 24th minute and Claude Dielna in the 86th minute – and now the Revs will have to cope without the pair of backline leaders against the Rapids.
Friedel said the Revs won’t change their approach without Delamea and Dielna, they’ll simply choose from the likes of Jalil Anibaba, Andrew Farrell, Nico Samayoa and Brandon Bye to plug the gaps in central defense.
“We have a very good squad here, and we’re well equipped if we have injuries or suspensions,” said Friedel. “There won’t be any difference in how we were going to approach the game with Claude and Toni available. They’re not available, but it doesn’t change, it just changes the personnel.”
After setting a club record with 12 home wins last year the Revs will look to get their 2018 home slate off to a strong start against the Rapids, who’ll be well rested after having the opening weekend off.
Colorado do already have two competitive matches under their belts, however, as they were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League by Toronto FC, falling 2-0 in the two-leg aggregate series. In their most recent match 11 days ago the Rapids battled to a 0-0 draw at BMO Field.
“The second leg, I thought they played very, very well in Toronto,” Friedel said of the Rapids. “They have a different system than ours, but they worked very, very hard in that game, and we’re going to have to be at the top of our game to be able to beat them.”
Past Meetings: Revs aim to make it four straight wins over the Rapids in Foxborough
The Revs and Rapids haven’t met since last year’s season opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where Colorado dug in for a 1-0 win over the visitors.
That result snapped the Revs’ three-game winning streak in the series – all three victories coming by shutout – but New England have still won the last three meetings in Foxborough, most recently a 2-0 win over the Rapids in September of 2016.
This will be the first time that the Revs have hosted the Rapids in their home opener, as they’ll look to extend their unbeaten run in home openers to 12 games (7-0-4 since 2007).
Injury Report: Angking remains out, but Herivaux back in the mix for Revs
There’s just one name on the Revolution’s injury report ahead of the home opener as Isaac Angking remains sidelined while recovering from “a non-soccer-related medical emergency.” No timetable has been set for Angking’s return.
That means that Zach Herivaux, who had been working his way back from an ankle injury, is available for selection after returning to full training this week.
Final Thoughts: Home is where the heart has been for Revs in recent years
“It’s always good to be back home,” Farrell said of returning to Gillette Stadium, where the Revs went 12-2-3 last year. “We have great fans, we have a great atmosphere and I think that’s always tough for away teams when they come to this place. That’s why last year we did so well, and we’re going to continue to try to keep that trend going this year.”