Crew against a wall vs. Revolution
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: NE 9 wins, 37 gls; CLB 20 wins, 53 gls; 4 ties
2004 HEAD-TO-HEAD: NE 0 wins, 4 gls; CLB 2 wins, 6 gls; 2 ties
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: NE 2 wins, 4 gls; CLB 0 wins, 2 gls; 2 ties
REFEREE: Alex Prus
SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Rob Fereday;
4th: Kevin Terry
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: GK Adin Brown (concussion); DF Carlos Llamosa (L knee sprain); FW Joe-Max Moore (R knee sprain); GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); DF Joe Franchino (R hip strain); DF Steve Howey (R quad strain); PROBABLE: MD Brian Kamler (L groin strain): FW Taylor Twellman (R bruised elbow) ... COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: DF Stephen Herdsman (L groin strain); MD Devin Barclay (R foot stress fracture)
YELLOW PERIL: CLB: Edson Buddle (5 CP); Robin Fraser (5 CP) ... NE: Avery John (5 CP); Shalrie Joseph (5 CP); Jay Heaps (5 CP)
The Crew came out of the first leg realizing they didn't match the physical intensity of the Revolution. But the Eastern Conference top seed has no intention of allowing that to happen in their home leg. "We know what New England is all about," forward Kyle Martino said. "The only way to get back is to match that. That's what the playoffs are. You've got to go all out. You're going to see us a little more physical Sunday. They're not coming into our house and play like that." ... Still, the Revolution's hard tackling will have an effect on the plans of Crew coach Greg Andrulis. Midfielders Simon Elliott and Chris Wingert have missed out on full training during the week after suffering injuries in tough challenges. Elliott is expected to be available at the weekend, but Wingert is doubtful. ... In addition to matching the physical demands of the match, the Crew believe they lost patience in the match at New England. "You hold on to (the ball) and things will open up. As long as you pick the right times to go (forward), then good things are going to happen," said Elliott. "We did not do that last weekend so we have to get back to keeping it on Sunday." The New Zealand international added he expects the Revolution's approach to the match to be one where patience is more necessary than ever. "They will obviously come in here with a particular game plan in mind. We have to sort of worry about what we are doing and find a way to break them down," he said. "What can I say -- we cannot afford to get impatient and do things the wrong way. The longer the game goes on without a goal the more patient we have to be." ... Martino echoed his teammate's feelings: "It is going to be tough not to just want to get the ball forward quickly, hurry up and get that goal. We have to make sure that we remember it is a 90-minute game. All we need is at least one goal and that is very feasible. We have been doing it all year long, being patient, not just trying to score right away and win the game in the first half, but just playing solid and the result will come."
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The Revolution have chosen the best time of the season to tighten up their defense and produce quality results. But regardless of the system, Steve Nicol's side realizes they are just as closer to reverting to the form they showed for much of the campaign. "The team gets in trouble when we don't play team defense," Pierce said. "If we give them time and don't take pride in possession of the ball, if we get lazy and don't make runs, don't do the little things, we get in trouble. Columbus is a very good team. If they have time in the midfield and their forwards can time their runs -- and that goes for any forwards on any team in the league -- we will be in trouble." ... Nicol is pointing to his team's attitude as key to advancement from Sunday's second leg in Columbus. "If we don't turn it up we're in trouble," he said. "If we don't have the same intensity and drive that we showed last Saturday then we are in trouble. If we have the same intensity, drive and the desire, then I think we have a chance to be successful." ... The Revolution are hoping to pull a little energy from the Boston Red Sox victory in the World Series, which ended an 86-year drought. However, that motivation could be a little bittersweet for four Revolution players -- Steve Ralston, Taylor Twellman, Brian Kamler and Pat Noonan -- all of whom are natives of St. Louis. ... Nicol is not expected to change his team for the second leg, which would mean a return to a 3-5-2 system and another match in central midfield for Jose Cancela, who lost his place coming down the stretch but has returned to provide valuable influence. "They are going to come out differently, attacking and looking to get out ahead because they need the game," he said. "From our perspective, we have to be calm and know how to protect the ball and take advantage of the spaces to prevent them from getting going. If we give them the ball repeatedly, and let them come after us we are going to have a hard time."