FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Following last week’s frustrating home loss to FC Cincinnati the New England Revolution will be in search of a big-time response on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, where they’ll host Minnesota United FC for just the second time in club history.
Kickoff between the Revs (0-3-1, 1 pt.) and Loons (2-1-0, 6 pts.) is set for 2 p.m., with NBC Sports Boston televising the game and streaming the action for authenticated subscribers on NBCSportsBoston.com and the NBC Sports Boston mobile app. Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama will have the call there, and on the radio on 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2.
Portuguese radio listeners can catch the action on 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA.
For pregame coverage and analysis of lineups and storylines, Jeff Lemieux will host this week’s Revolution Pregame Live show alongside analyst Charlie Davies, streaming at 1:15 p.m. on revolutionsoccer.net, as well as the club’s official Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. The duo will also be joined by former Chelsea FC forward and Norway national team legend Tore André Flo – now serving as a club ambassador for Chelsea – to promote the Final Whistle on Hate charity match between the Revs and Chelsea on May 15.
Postgame coverage will begin immediately after the final whistle on NBC Sports Boston.
Current Form: Revs aiming to snap early-season skid; Loons fresh off bye week
New England suffered a third straight loss last weekend against expansion side FC Cincinnati, marking the first time the Revs have dropped the first two home games of a season since 2003. Head coach Brad Friedel said several players lacked energy in the first half, and he’ll be looking for a significant response on Saturday.
“The confidence is something that we have to get back in the players to be able to do for 90 minutes,” said Friedel. “The players all know here that are with us, whatever we say (as a coaching staff), it’s not personal. We’re just trying to improve the group collectively.
“I stand by the fact that we have good players, and I stand by the fact that once we put it together for 90 minutes, we’ll be getting results. I hope that starts on Saturday.”
Friedel has stated on several occasions that the Revolution’s second-half performances have been better than the first in all four matches, but they’ll need to be sharp from the opening whistle against Minnesota.
“We can’t wait to go a goal down before we realize, ‘Oh, we need to start playing now,’” said captain Michael Mancienne. “We need to come out from the first whistle and make sure that we’re on it.”
That’ll be particularly important against a new-look Minnesota side that stormed to a pair of victories over the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes before suffering a 3-2 loss to the LA Galaxy two weeks ago.
Fresh faces like Osvaldo Alonso, Ike Opara, and Vito Mannone have provided stability through the middle of the park, but it’s Colombian playmaker Darwin Quintero (two goals, three assists) who still runs the show in the attacking third.
“He’s a fantastic player,” goalkeeper Brad Knighton said of Quintero. “We played against him in preseason down in Orlando and we saw glimpses of what they were looking to do in the season, so we’ll try to pull some things from that game that we’d seen, and see how they’ve done throughout their results so far this season.”
Past Meetings: Revs and Loons prepare to square off for just the third time
February’s preseason meeting aside – a contest Minnesota won, 1-0 – the Revs and Loons have met just twice before in the regular season, with the home side winning on both occasions.
New England rolled past Minnesota, 5-2, in the only previous meeting at Gillette Stadium in March 2017, while the Loons returned the favor with a 2-1 win at TCF Bank Stadium last July.
Minnesota will open Allianz Field in mid-April, and the Revs are slated to make their first-ever visit to the Loons’ new home in Saint Paul next season.
Injury Report: Angking (knee surgery), Rennicks (hamstring) both sidelined
A pair of Academy products will be sidelined for the near future as both Isaac Angking and Justin Rennicks are currently recovering from injury.
Angking underwent a successful debridement procedure on his left knee earlier this week, and that surgery is expected to keep the 19-year-old midfielder out for six-to-eight weeks. The Providence, R.I., native has yet to feature for the first team this season, but did play 90 minutes for the U19s on March 17.
Rennicks, meanwhile, had his time in U.S. Under-20 camp cut short after suffering a hamstring strain in the early stages of a pre-World Cup friendly against France last Friday. The forward, who made his MLS debut in the home opener against Columbus Crew SC, is expected to require two-to-four weeks to recover.
With the Under-20 World Cup in Poland set to begin in late May, Rennicks has set his sights on a quick recovery, getting back on the field with the Revs, and winning a spot on the World Cup roster.
“It’s nothing more than just me recovering at this point,” said Rennicks, who called the timing of the injury heartbreaking. “I can’t do much about it. It’s just me getting back into soccer as soon as possible, keeping my touches clean and staying fit.”
Final Thoughts: Mancienne says “one win can turn a whole season around”
“One win can turn a whole season around,” said Mancienne. “You can go on a little run after one win, and confidence comes back, confidence his high. You can go on a string of games and win a lot of games (in a row). One win is vital.”