FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Rested and refreshed following an early-season bye week the New England Revolution return to action on Saturday afternoon, when they’ll host league-leading New York City FC at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff between the Revs (1-1-0, 3 pts.) and NYCFC (3-0-0, 9 pts.) is set for 1:30 p.m., with Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama on the call for NBC Sports Boston, which will televise the match and also stream it live on NBCSportsBoston.com and the NBC Sports Boston app.
That trio will also have the radio call on 98.5 The Sports Hub and Sirius XM FC, while Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Elizabeth Pehota and Jeff Lemieux will break down the starting lineups and storylines on Revolution Pregame LIVE, streaming on the Revs’ official Facebook page at 1 p.m., while Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on NBC Sports Boston. Matt McCarthy and Clyde Simms will handle postgame coverage on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Fans attending the match are encouraged to bring new-or-gently-used soccer equipment for donation, with all equipment benefitting Boston Children’s Hospital. Donations will be accepted at all stadium gates beginning at 12 p.m., and anyone who makes a donation will receive a Revolution Charitable Foundation pennant.
Current Form: Revs aim to build upon dramatic first win; NYCFC look to stay perfect
Chris Tierney’s last-gasp free kick earned the Revs a dramatic 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids two weeks ago, securing Brad Friedel’s first three points as a professional head coach in the process. The win was an emotional boost for the Revs, who also benefitted from Matt Turner’s penalty save in just his second MLS appearance.
The challenge for the Revs will be harnessing that energy through the bye weekend, as they’ve had a full two weeks to process that win over Colorado and get themselves ready for NYCFC.
“I don’t think any of us wanted the bye this quickly, but we got it and we got it after a win, which is nice,” Kelyn Rowe said early this week. “We put in a lot of work last week and were able to get a couple days off, and now we’re back working and focusing on New York.”
New England do have the benefit of playing at home, where they’ve put together a nine-game unbeaten run (8-0-1) dating back to last season, only a 0-0 draw with Atlanta preventing perfection during that span. Going back to September 2016 the Revs are 17-2-3 in their last 22 games at Gillette Stadium.
Patrick Vieira’s NYCFC side will present a stern test of that home form, however, as the current league leaders have taken the full nine points from their first three games, outscoring opponents 6-1 in the process. In recent years NYCFC have been one of the league’s best road teams, going 6-7-4 away from Yankee Stadium last season and already picking up a road win against Sporting Kansas City to kick off the current campaign.
Past Meetings: Revs aim to make it four wins from five meetings in Foxborough
New England and NYCFC split a trio of meetings last season, each side winning once at home after kicking off the year with a 2-2 draw at Yankee Stadium.
Diego Fagundez scored a pair of goals in the most recent matchup, guiding the Revs to a 2-1 win over NYCFC in the Revolution’s home finale last October. The victory improved New England’s record to 3-1-0 against New York City FC at Gillette Stadium, and gave the Revs a narrow edge (4-3-2) in the overall series.
Injury Report: Both sides missing key pieces ahead of Saturday’s encounter
International duty and injuries will leave both the Revs and NYCFC shorthanded for Saturday’s meeting.
Krisztián Németh will be unavailable for the Revs as he’s currently in his native Hungary for a pair of international friendlies, while Isaac Angking continues to recover from the non-soccer related medical emergency that has sidelined him since preseason.
The visitors will also be missing a pair of players to international duty as Alexander Ring (Finland) and Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica) are representing their countries, while David Villa and Ronald Matarrita seem unlikely to feature as they recover from injuries.
Anton Tinnerholm, meanwhile, appears to have recovered from the injury that sidelined him for NYCFC’s win over Orlando City SC last weekend.
Final Thoughts: Delamea says Revs need to be strong in midfield vs. NYCFC
“We know their strengths (and) we know their weaknesses,” said Antonio Delamea, eligible to return on Saturday after serving a one-game suspension. “We’ll try to outplay them. First, we’ll try to play soccer with them, try to keep the ball, to play possession.
“But we know we need to be sharp to win duels, especially in the midfield. This is where their strength is coming from. If we can cut their midfield off, then we’ll do almost half of our job.”