HOUSTON – The New England Revolution will aim to make it three games unbeaten when they visit the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Kickoff between the Revs (1-1-1, 4 pts.) and Dynamo (1-1-1, 4 pts.) is set for 8:30 p.m. ET, with television coverage on WSBK myTV38. The action will also be streamed live for local viewers on revolutionsoccer.net, while the radio call will be available on 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2 (English) and WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA (Portuguese).
Those who’d like to watch alongside fellow Revolution supporters can head to the club’s official watch party at McGreevy’s Boston (911 Boylston Street), where there will also be games, prizes, and more.
Current Form: Revs return to the road after taking four points from pair of home games
New England and Houston have gotten their 2018 seasons off to similar starts, both going 1-1-1 through two home games and one road game.
The Revs took four points from a pair of matches at Gillette Stadium in recent weeks, using Chris Tierney’s late free kick to down the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, before battling to a 2-2 draw with New York City FC last weekend.
Head coach Brad Friedel was frustrated not to take the full three points against NYCFC – particularly as the Revs created several clear-cut chances in a dominant first half – but he was encouraged by his side’s performance as they continue to adapt to the system he and his staff are putting in place.
“We did everything in the first half except score the multiple goals that I think we deserved,” Friedel said. “I spoke to [the NYCFC] staff after the game, and they were very, very happy with the point, so I think that tells the tale.”
Now the Revolution’s task will be to carry that philosophy onto the road, where they opened the season with a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union in a match marred by an early red card.
“On the road, I think we can be dangerous,” said Jalil Anibaba, who’ll face his former club for the first time since spending the past two years in Houston. “I think the key to MLS in general is being solid on the road. Most teams are pretty decent at home – if not good at home – but on the road is where the difference lies.”
The Revs will face a well-rested Dynamo side that hasn’t played since March 17, when they saw a two-goal lead slip away in a 2-2 draw with D.C. United. Prior to that road match Houston split a pair of home games, rolling past Atlanta United, 4-0, in the season opener, before falling, 2-1, to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Past Meetings: New England aim to continue recent dominance over Houston
The Revs have had loads of success against Houston in recent years, going 4-0-1 against the Dynamo in five regular-season meetings date back to April 2014.
That success includes a strong record in Houston, where the Revs are 6-3-2 all-time, including 2-1-1 in their last four visits to BBVA Compass Stadium. New England’s last visit was a dramatic 3-3 draw on opening day 2016.
These two sides also met in the 2018 preseason finale just one month ago, when both coaches trotted out close to a first-choice lineup for the Mobile Mini Sun Cup title match. The Revs emerged victorious in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw, and Friedel said there’s plenty for both teams to take away from those 90 minutes.
“It was a pretty good preseason game when we watched the video back,” Friedel said. “They’re a big, physical team, and it’ll be another entertaining game.
“They’re not going to press as quickly, maybe, as NYCFC would do as high up the field, but in the midfield they do, and they sure like to break. We’re going to have to be at the top of our game, but I’m really looking forward to it. I think we’re in a real good position to take the points.”
Injury Report: Angking (illness), Cropper (concussion) both unavailable in Houston
Isaac Angking continues to recover from the non-soccer related medical emergency that has sidelined him since preseason, while Cody Cropper will also be unavailable this weekend after suffering a concussion in training.
Luis Caicedo, meanwhile, could have a bigger role to play on Saturday night after making an abbreviated (two-minute) debut in last weekend’s draw with New York City FC.
Final Thoughts: Revs set sights on “that elusive clean sheet” in Houston
“We were locked in for 90 minutes and we were unfortunate – and a little bit unlucky, as well – to concede two goals,” goalkeeper Matt Turner said of the defensive performance vs. NYCFC. “I think we got a little tired towards the end, so as our fitness continues to grow, soon that’s not going to be able to be an excuse.
“We’re just looking to build every performance, and hopefully get that elusive clean sheet.”