FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A midweek trip to the Big Apple that “could make or break [the] season” awaits the New England Revolution, who’ll visit New York City FC on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
New England (7-10-9, 30 pts.) are currently six points back of the playoff places in the Eastern Conference, while NYCFC (14-7-6, 48 pts.) have dropped to third in the East, now six points back of second-place Atlanta United and seven points back of the league-leading New York Red Bulls.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday night with Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama handling the call on NBC Sports Boston (also streaming live on NBCSportsBoston.com and the mobile app) and 98.5 The Sports Hub. As always, Portuguese radio listeners can tune into 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on NBC Sports Boston, while Matt McCarthy and former Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms will take calls for 30 minutes after the match on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Revs and NYCFC both in the midst of summer swoons
New England’s winless run hit nine (0-6-3) this past weekend as they battled to a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers at Gillette Stadium. Scott Caldwell’s first goal of 2018 early in the second half appeared to have the Revs on their way to a slump-busting win, but another goal conceded from a set piece forced them to share the points.
Head coach Brad Friedel has said several times throughout this stretch that the Revolution’s issues come down to mentality, and they’ll need to dig deep on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, where NYCFC boast the league’s only unbeaten home record at 10-0-3.
“Everyone has to give it their all, just like we have been,” said Caldwell. “But we have to really back each other up. We can’t let one individual mistake lead to another, lead to another. If someone makes a mistake, the next guy backs him up and we move on from there. That’s the only way we’re going to win games is together, as a group.”
Despite the current run of results the Revs still find themselves in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, six points back of the sixth-place Montreal Impact and with two games in hand. With that in mind, New England’s belief remains intact as they prepare to head to New York City.
“Three points on Wednesday – it doesn’t matter what their home record is, to be honest with you – is a must-need for us. All the players know it,” said Friedel. “If we get it, we’re right back in the race, which is crazy. We haven’t won in so long, and we can still match Montreal with the games in hand on them. We just have to put in a monumental effort.”
NYCFC are in the midst of a rough patch, as well, having won just once in their last six games (1-3-2) after winning five of the first six matches under new head coach Domenec Torrent, who has instilled a slightly different approach since taking over from Patrick Vieira in mid-June.
“Since Patrick’s gone, they’ve played a little bit more direct when teams have pressed them,” said Friedel. “They still have very good players in their team.”
Past Meetings: Revs aiming to make it four results in six trips to Yankee Stadium
A high-energy affair ended all square as the Revs and NYCFC drew 2-2 at Gillette Stadium in late March, the fifth straight meeting between the sides to feature at least three goals.
While the Revs fell on their most recent visit to the Bronx – a 2-1 loss last August – they’ve picked up results on three of their five previous trips to Yankee Stadium, including a dramatic 2-2 draw last May.
Injury Report: Midfield stalwart Caicedo suspended for midweek match
Since making his first start with the Revs back in late March, gritty midfielder Luis Caicedo has gone the full 90 minutes in all but one match, the 2-1 loss to Minnesota United in mid-July when he served a suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
Caicedo will once again be suspended for yellow-card accumulation on Wednesday night, and the Revs will need to compensate for his absence in the middle of the park, particularly at Yankee Stadium, where the smaller dimensions often make for a frenzied match that suits Caicedo’s skillset.
“Obviously he’s a huge piece of our team and what we do, but our midfield rotation is good,” said center back Jalil Anibaba. “We have a lot of midfielders who are more than capable of doing a job, if not bringing different qualities that may spice things up a little bit, so we’ll be fine.”
Final Thoughts: Midfield battle to be key as Revs expect “chaotic” match
“It will be chaotic, without a doubt,” Friedel said of matches at Yankee Stadium, where the field dimensions (110 yards long by 70 yards wide) are the smallest required by FIFA regulations. “But also, if they are going to try to play out of the back, we’re going to try to press.
“A lot of this game comes down to who’s willing to win the second ball. You could put an incredible array of talent out on the field, and when you play on a field this small, it does come down to winning the second balls a lot, and then who can play from there. Our midfield against their midfield is going to be a key matchup in this game.”