VANCOUVER – Another considerable test awaits the New England Revolution on Saturday at BC Place, where they’ll visit Vancouver Whitecaps FC to kick off a grueling stretch of six games in 19 days.
The Revs (5-4-2, 17 pts.) and Whitecaps (4-5-4, 16 pts.) will get underway at 5:30 p.m. ET, with NBC Sports Boston televising the match and streaming the action live on NBCSportsBoston.com and their mobile app. Radio listeners can tune into 98.5 The Sports Hub (English) or 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA (Portuguese).
Elizabeth Pehota and Jeff Lemieux will break down the starting lineups and storylines from BC Place on Revolution Pregame LIVE, streaming on the Revs’ official Facebook page at 5 p.m. ET, while Revolution Postgame Live with Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will begin after the final whistle on NBC Sports Boston.
Rob “Hardy” Poole and former Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms will handle postgame duties on the radio, as they’ll take calls for 30 minutes on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Revs gearing up for vital stretch; Whitecaps on string of 2-2 draws
The silver lining to last weekend’s frustrating home loss to Columbus Crew SC is that the Revolution will have every opportunity to put that result in the rearview mirror as Saturday’s visit to Vancouver begins a stretch of six games in under three weeks.
Head coach Brad Friedel has his squad focused firmly on their meeting with the Whitecaps, but also admits that the coaching staff has taken a long view of the upcoming stretch, and will likely need to use a significant amount of rotation within the group to keep legs fresh.
“The most important game is the Vancouver game, without a doubt, and we’re going to put a team out that we think will win the three points against Vancouver,” said Friedel. “But we’ll also be cognizant of the amount of minutes that the players play, and also with the travel that we have.”
Following this weekend’s trip to the Pacific Northwest the Revs will host both Atlanta United FC (May 30) and the New York Red Bulls (June 2) next week, before three straight road matches in a 10-day span.
Vancouver fall on the other end of the spectrum as the impending FIFA World Cup break means the Whitecaps will play just three games in the next month, with just one road trip to Colorado in the mix.
Carl Robinson’s side will want to rack up as many points as possible before that break having played to three consecutive 2-2 draws in recent matches, coming from behind on each occasion.
With former Revolution forward Kei Kamara lurking inside the penalty area, Vancouver’s biggest strength is often through crosses from the wide areas, something the Revs will be prepared to deal with on Saturday.
“They cross, on average, the second-most balls into the box of any team, especially on the left-hand side through (Marcel) de Jong,” said Friedel. “They put an average of about 23 crosses in your box a game. Very big side, strong side, but a very direct side. That’s what we’re expecting to come up against, and we’ll hopefully develop a plan that’ll cause them a lot of problems.”
Past Meetings: Revs aiming for third straight win over Whitecaps
While the Revs have generally struggled away from home in recent years, they’ve actually found a bit of success on the West Coast, going unbeaten (1-0-3) in their last four trips to the Pacific Time Zone. That includes draws in Seattle, Portland, and San Jose, as well as a 2-1 victory over the Whitecaps at BC Place in 2016.
New England also won the only meeting between the sides last year at Gillette Stadium, where Teal Bunbury’s second-half goal was enough to seal a 1-0 victory for the Revs.
This’ll be just the Revolution’s fourth trip to Vancouver, but there’ve been fireworks on each previous occasion as the teams have combined for 12 goals in the first three meetings north of the border.
Injury Report: Agudelo “day-to-day” ahead of busy stretch; Delamea back in the mix
Juan Agudelo remains “day-to-day” as he recovers from the hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined for the past two matches, and Friedel said he expects the powerful striker to be available at some point during the Revolution’s stretch of three games in the next week.
Antonio Delamea, meanwhile, is fully healthy after a scare in last weekend’s loss to Columbus, as the center back has recovered from the illness that forced him out early in the second half of that match.
New father Diego Fagundez will also be available for selection on Saturday just three days after the birth of his first daughter, Maria Florentina. Fagundez, who leads the Revolution with 34 chances created according to Opta, missed last weekend’s meeting with Columbus while serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation.
New England will be without the services of Zach Herivaux on Saturday as the young, Homegrown midfielder has joined the Haiti National Team in Buenos Aires to take on powerhouse Argentina in their final match before departing for the FIFA World Cup.
Final Thoughts: Turner says pressure is on Revs to pick up points during busy stretch
“That’s probably the most difficult part is mentally just telling yourself that you’re not as tired as you think you are, and getting results when you need to get results in difficult places,” goalkeeper Matt Turner said of the upcoming stretch. “We’re really gutted to have lost a game going into this stretch; we would have liked to have beaten Columbus and maybe have a little more leeway, but now it just puts a lot more pressure on us to get points and get positive results out of these games, which I think we’ll do.”