FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A classic six-point showdown is set for Saturday night at Red Bull Arena, where the New England Revolution will visit the New York Red Bulls in a match with significant playoff implications.
Entering this weekend the sixth-place Revs (9-9-7, 34 pts.) and fifth-place Red Bulls (11-10-4, 37 pts.) are separated by just three points in the Eastern Conference standings, meaning a win on Saturday night would pull New England level with New York heading into the season’s final eight games.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., with NBC Sports Boston televising the match and streaming the action live to authenticated subscribers on NBCSportsBoston.com and the NBC Sports mobile app.
Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner, and Naoko Funayama will have the English call both on NBCSB and 98.5 The Sports Hub, while Portuguese radio listeners can tune into 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Revolution Postgame Live begins immediately after the final whistle on NBC Sports Boston, while Rob “Hardy” Poole and former Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms will take calls during 30 minutes of postgame coverage on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Revs on verge of record road unbeaten run; Red Bulls clinging to fifth
Bruce Arena called last weekend’s 3-3 draw in Seattle “a game of accidents,” but also lauded his side’s character as they overcame several obstacles – including conceding in the second minute and trailing into the late stages – to come home from the West Coast with a valuable point.
“There’s segments of that game we played very well, other segments where we didn’t play well,” Arena said. “But I think it continues to show the growth of our team. We’ve been able to go on the road and get results over the last couple months, and that’s a real positive.”
In fact, the Revs haven’t lost on the road in more than three months, as they’ve picked up three wins and three draws in six road trips since mid-May. The six-game stretch matches the longest road unbeaten run in club history (2008), and they could establish a new record with a seventh straight result on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.
“It’s so difficult, especially when you’re changing time zones,” said Michael Mancienne, noting that the current run includes trips to Seattle, Los Angeles, and Colorado. “To have that mentality – that strong mentality – and that belief in yourself to not lose the game, it’s huge.”
The Red Bulls, meanwhile, have had a hot-and-cold summer, alternating wins and losses in their last six matches and going just 4-5-1 since early June. Only one of those five losses has been at Red Bull Arena, however, where Chris Armas’ side is 5-1-1 in their last seven home games.
Arena, who coached Armas with the U.S. National Team from 1998-2005, said he expects the Red Bulls to press high and hard throughout the 90 minutes on Saturday night.
“(They’re a) hardworking team,” Arena said. “They’re a very aggressive team when their opponents have the ball. They really get after it, and that’s been their theme pretty much over the last couple years.”
Past Meetings: Revs aim to make it a clean sweep of Red Bulls in 2019
This will be the third meeting between the Revs and Red Bulls this season, and New England have been victorious in both previous encounters.
Cristian Penilla scored the game’s only goal just two minutes after coming off the bench to lift the Revs to a 1-0 win in league play on April 20 at Gillette Stadium, while Teal Bunbury played the hero in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 11, scoring a late equalizer and an extra-time winner in the Revs’ 3-2 road triumph.
The Revs are, however, still in search of their first-ever league win at Red Bull Arena, which opened in 2010. New England’s only win at the venue came on the biggest stage in the playoffs, as they claimed a 2-1 victory in the first leg of the 2014 Eastern Conference Championship.
Injury Report: Farrell suspended and Delamea still recovering; Jones back in the mix
Andrew Farrell has played every minute of the Revolution’s last 21 games – since returning from an eye injury that sidelined him for the season’s first four matches – but that streak will come to an end this weekend as the veteran defender will be suspended for yellow-card accumulation.
Farrell is likely to be joined on the sidelines by fellow center back Antonio Delamea, who is targeting a return by the end of the month, according to Arena.
There is good news, however, with regards to rookie DeJuan Jones, who is available for selection after missing recent weeks with a right leg injury.
Meanwhile, the young quartet of Zach Herivaux, Brian Wright, Justin Rennicks, and Isaac Angking remain on loan with clubs in the USL Championship.
Final Thoughts: Anibaba calls Saturday night Revs’ “most important game to date”
“This will be our most important game to date,” said Jalil Anibaba. “Playing there in Red Bull (Arena) is always difficult. They play a very high-paced, pressure-based style, so it’s going to be a difficult game. It’s going to be a battle throughout the whole 90 minutes.
“Everybody’s going to have to bring their A-game, and we don’t really expect anything less for any of the games remaining on the schedule.”