FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – One month out from Decision Day presented by AT&T, the New England Revolution still have everything to play for in the final six games of the regular season.
The Revs (10-9-9, 39 pts.) currently occupy sixth place in the Eastern Conference, two points above the playoff line and just three points back of fourth-place D.C. United. A win in Saturday afternoon’s showdown with New York City FC (14-5-8, 50 pts.) would see the Revs climb into a tie for fourth, which carries with it a coveted home playoff game.
Coverage from Yankee Stadium begins at 3:30 p.m., and the game will be nationally televised on Univision. Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will have the local call in English on 98.5 The Sports Hub, while Portuguese radio listeners can tune into 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Host Matt LaPan and former Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms will take calls during 30 minutes of postgame coverage on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
After approximately 500 supporters traveled to Red Bull Arena for the Revs’ 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls three weeks ago, Saturday will mark New England’s second Season Member road trip. More than 700 fans will make the trek to The Bronx as the Revs go in search of another positive result at Yankee Stadium.
Current Form: Revs have sights set on fourth place in East; NYCFC aim to go top
A win on Saturday afternoon would have massive playoff implications for both the Revs and NYCFC.
Three points this weekend would send the Revs into a tie for fourth place in the East, as they would leapfrog the Red Bulls and pull level with D.C. United, with still another game in hand. A loss or a draw, however, could see the Revs leapfrogged by Toronto FC (10-10-8, 38 pts.), who visit FC Cincinnati on Saturday.
“We want to be playing in the playoffs, so we know that every game is super important,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner. “You take one wrong step, another team could really close that gap on you.
“We’re not in a comfortable sixth place by any means. We have a big challenge this weekend at New York, and they’re a team that’s also looking to solidify their home-field advantage for the playoffs. We know that they’re going to be up for it, and we need three points.”
The Revs picked up one point in their last match – a dramatic 1-1 draw with TFC at Gillette Stadium – giving them four points from their two-game homestand. Now as they head back on the road they’ll be looking to build upon their seven-game unbeaten run away from home (3-0-4), dating all the way back to mid-May.
“I think it was sloppy,” Andrew Farrell said of last weekend’s draw with Toronto. “We didn’t play our best and Toronto played really well. Obviously I think it’s good that we fought back to get the point and keep this momentum going a little bit, but now it’s more important than ever to get a win in New York.”
NYCFC, meanwhile, would move into first place in the East with a win on Saturday, as they currently trail top-of-the-table Philadelphia by just one point. Dome Torrent’s side has won four straight and are 7-2-0 in their last nine, including four consecutive wins at Yankee Stadium.
“It’ll be fun to play against a team of that caliber, a team that’s clinched a playoff spot,” said Farrell. “They’re looking to probably get up higher and higher (in the standings), but it’s going to be a great challenge.”
Past Meetings: Revs handed NYCFC their only home loss of the 2018 season
These sides will meet twice in the final month of the regular season as the Revs will host NYCFC in the return match on September 29, New England’s home finale at Gillette Stadium.
The last time they met was almost one year ago to the day – September 5, 2018 – when Brian Wright’s first MLS goal separated the sides in the Revolution’s 1-0 win at Yankee Stadium, NYCFC’s only home loss of last season. All told the Revs are 2-2-2 in the Bronx, and they’ve picked up points in four of their last five visits.
Including a pair of meetings in Foxborough, the Revs are unbeaten in their last three meetings with NYCFC, going 2-0-1.
Injury Report: Bunbury, Castillo still on the mend; NYCFC missing several key pieces
Edgar Castillo remains sidelined by a rib injury and Teal Bunbury seems likely to miss a second straight game with a hamstring strain, but there is good news with regards to Andrew Farrell, who was a full participant in training this week after coming off in the late stages of last weekend’s draw with Toronto FC.
Farrell was replaced in that match by Antonio Delamea, who played seven minutes in his return from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for three games.
Injury and international duty will also leave NYCFC a bit shorthanded on Saturday afternoon. Most notably the Cityzens will be missing leading goal scorer Heber and center back James Sands through injury, while Alex Callens, Ronald Matarrita and Tony Rocha will be away on international duty.
U.S. National Team goalkeeper Sean Johnson and Luxembourg defender Maxime Chanot were also called away to international duty, but Johnson will return to NYCFC after Friday night’s friendly against Mexico, and Chanot has delayed his departure to join up with Luxembourg. Both are expected to be available on Saturday.
Final Thoughts: Revs need to be “up for a fight” on Yankee Stadium’s small field
“The field’s a little bit different,” Turner said of Yankee Stadium’s dimensions, listed at 110 yards long by 70 yards wide, the smallest field in MLS. “I know we did a good job there last year. There’s a lot of shots in the games because the field’s a little smaller. It can just be a pretty ugly game, so we’ve got to be up for a (fight).
“We’ve got to win our 50-50s in the middle of the field, and hopefully create some of those into opportunities to score, and when we get our chances to score, we need to put them away.”