FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Brad Friedel and his New England Revolution will have an opportunity to make an early statement on Saturday night when league-leading Sporting Kansas City visit Gillette Stadium.
Sporting KC (5-1-2, 17 pts.) will arrive in Foxborough atop the MLS standings, but the Revs (3-2-2, 11 pts.) – currently 4th in the Eastern Conference – could close the gap this weekend. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama will have the call on WSBK myTV38 and 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2, while the action will also be streamed live on revolutionsoccer.net for local viewers in the region. 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 7 p.m., while Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on myTV38.
Fans attending Saturday’s match are encouraged to bring new school supplies – such as pens, pencils and notebooks – for donation to benefit Citizen’s Schools. Donation bins will be placed at all Gillette Stadium gates, and anyone who makes a donation will receive a New England Revolution Charitable Foundation pennant.
Current Form: Revs aim to get back to winning ways; SKC unbeaten in seven
A rare home loss to FC Dallas two weeks ago snapped an early-season four-game unbeaten run, but the Revs found a strong response last weekend as they picked up a valuable road point in a gutsy 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew SC, twice battling back after falling behind.
Now the Revs have their sights set on a similar response at home, where they’ll look to get back to winning ways after that loss to FCD snapped an 11-game unbeaten streak (9-0-2) at Gillette Stadium. To do so, they’ll have to prove their credentials by taking down red-hot Sporting KC.
“Whenever you have a team coming into your house, it’s definitely a time to step up and be ready to win,” said Scott Caldwell. “Coming off of our last two performances, we know we have to step up and improve. We’re looking forward to doing that against KC.”
Sporting KC have steadily risen up the table since a season-opening loss to New York City FC, going 5-0-2 in their last seven games while leading the league in goals (20) and chances created (112).
Johnny Russell (five goals, two assists) is coming off a hat trick in SKC’s club-record 6-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend, while Felipe Gutierrez (five goals), Roger Espinoza (five assists), and Daniel Salloi (one goal, four assists) have also been key contributors in the early going.
“They bring a lot of the same things as Columbus in terms of sending their fullbacks high and trying to play a lot,” said Caldwell. “We’ll have to deal with their pace and their good attack.”
Past Meetings: Revs hoping to make it four straight wins over SKC in Foxborough
New England have won four of the past six regular-season meetings with Sporting KC, including the past three meetings at Gillette Stadium dating back to 2014. All three of those victories in Foxborough have been by multiples goals, including a 3-1 triumph in October 2016.
But it was Sporting that won by that score line last September, cancelling out Teal Bunbury’s early goal with three unanswered after former SKC forward Krisztián Németh was sent off just 11 minutes into the match at Children’s Mercy Park.
Injury Report: Rowe’s status still up in the air ahead of the weekend
Kelyn Rowe is making steady progress from the left knee injury that’s kept him sidelined the past two weekends, but his status for Saturday night’s meeting with Sporting KC remains a question mark.
Earlier this week Friedel indicated that Rowe’s recovery would be monitored on a day-by-day basis, and expressed confidence that Rowe would be back in the mix either this weekend or next, when the Revs will visit the Montreal Impact.
Isaac Angking, meanwhile, remains out while recovering from the non-soccer related medical emergency that has kept him sidelined since preseason.
Final Thoughts: Friedel and staff “like a lot of the early signs” in 2018
“It has been scattered around,” Friedel said of the Revolution’s balanced attack which has featured seven different goal scorers through seven games. “I’d like to get one or two more set pieces, if truth be told. But we’re a well-balanced team and we can build up, and we can also cause a lot of problems on the counterattack.
“We obviously have a lot of work to do. We’re still a team in its infancy, but we like a lot of the early signs.”