Revolution brace for Vancouver in Foxborough
The Revolution will host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night, looking to go unbeaten against Western Conference opponents at home this season.
At Gillette Stadium, New England is an impressive 4-0-1 against foes from the West, having outscored them, 15-5.
Vancouver, one of the hottest road teams in MLS, will be playing its third straight match away from BC Place. Following a 4-0 win at FC Dallas two weeks ago, Vancouver earned a 2-2 draw at Colorado last Saturday, as Fredy Montero scored a late equalizer.
“They defend really well in their blocks, they pressure at the right times,” said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. “They know how to counter and get points on the board when the other team is overexposed.
“We have to be a blend. We have to be aggressive offensively but also mitigate anything they can do going the other way.”
While Vancouver’s road form has improved, the Revolution have been dismal away from Gillette at 0-8-3. Their latest struggle came last weekend with a 4-1 thrashing at Chicago. They look forward to this homecoming, as their 7-2-2 home record is one of the best in MLS.
The Revolution remain out of a playoff spot, but are just 6 points out of sixth place with 12 games remaining. They worked to improve their squad during the summer transfer window, adding defender Claude Dielna in late July and acquiring forward Krisztian Nemeth this week via a sign-and-trade with Columbus.
Although the defense remains fickle, the offense has been sparked by the resurgence of Kei Kamara. The striker sits 10th on the all-time MLS scoring list with 94 goals, including four in his last three games.
“I think he’s been hustling,” said Revolution forward Juan Agudelo, “and the anger that he gets from defending, I think he benefits from it going on the offensive side, getting on the end of things and staying with the play. It’s definitely helping us.
“If we can put it all together, I think we’d be a very dangerous team.”
The last two meetings between these teams were 2-1 victories for the visitors. In June 2015, Vancouver knocked off the Revolution at Gillette before New England returned the favor at BC Place last June.
With this being their only home game in August, the Revolution are placing a lot of importance on it.
“It’s probably the biggest game of the season,” said Agudelo. “You look at our away form and we need this home game to kind of boost us into getting 3 points away, finally.”
Whitecaps at Revolution
■ When, where: Saturday, 8 p.m., Gillette Stadium, Foxborough.
■ TV, radio: CSN, WBZ-FM (98.5).
■ Coaches: Revolution — Jay Heaps; Vancouver — Carl Robinson.
■ Formations: Revolution — 4-4-2 diamond; Vancouver — 4-2-3-1.
■ Goalkeepers: Revolution — Cody Cropper; Vancouver — David Ousted.
■ Referee: Ismail Elfath.
■ Out: Revolution — none; Vancouver — D Brett Levis (knee), D David Edgar (knee), M Alphonso Davies (hip).
■ Miscellany: New England leads the all-time series, 3-2-2 . . . Vancouver is 2-0-1 in its last three road games . . . This is the final time this season the Revolution will host a Western Conference team.