Confident Revs travel to SoCal with win in mind
CARSON, Calif. – New England midfielder Benny Feilhaber could focus on a few things ahead Saturday's match against Chivas USA. (10:30 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live)
He could consider how the Red-and-White passed on his services two weeks ago. He could contemplate playing in front of his family and friends in Southern California for the first time as an MLS player. He could even ponder his first full week as a member of the Revolution.
While all of those ideas may occupy some space in Feilhaber's mind at this point, he said he plans to place the most emphasis on securing a result.
“That's the important thing,” Feilhaber told MLSsoccer.com after the Revs went through their paces on The Home Depot Center practice field on Friday afternoon. “Momentum is the biggest thing and we have it right now. We have the confidence that we can take three points tomorrow. Obviously, that's the goal. As the game goes on, hopefully, we can ride that confidence and that momentum to get the three points and continue on to the next week.”
In order to claim a second consecutive victory, the Revs must overcome the absences of regulars Marko Perovic and Pat Phelan (pictured right). Perovic will miss out with a left knee strain, while Phelan is currently sidelined with a concussion.
“Pat got a bang on the head last week, so we're just being cautious more than anything else,” Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. “Marko has that strain in his knee. Hopefully, he'll do some training this week, but we'll see.”
While the Revs won't necessarily need to make a change in central midfield after deploying Feilhaber and Stephen McCarthy there with Phelan unavailable for last Saturday's 3-2 win over Sporting KC, they will have to alter the setup to compensate for Perovic's omission. Kenny Mansally and Sainey Nyassi could vie for a spot on the left flank, with Zak Boggs likely to continue in his role on the right if Nicol persists with the 4-4-2 formation used against Sporting.
Nicol also decided to leave Ousmane Dabo out of the travel party after the French midfielder made his Revolution debut earlier this week. Dabo is healthy after his 76-minute stint in Tuesday's 3-2 victory over D.C. United in a US Open Cup play-in game, but Nicol said he wanted to give his player a chance to recover before embarking upon a full week of training next week.
Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis did make the trip to Southern California despite being listed as questionable on the injury report with a left shoulder sprain. Reis could feature from the start as usual, though backup ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth is available to receive the nod if Reis is not fit enough to play.
Nicol will hope to have all possible hands on deck as the Revs attempt to capture a second victory on the trot and end Chivas USA's four-match unbeaten run. New England must display their credentials in possession to obtain a positive result, according to Nicol.
“They'll try and pass the ball,” Nicol said. “It's important that we don't go [crazy] chasing. We have to pick our times to go and get it. Once we do get it, we [need to] keep it.”