FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England has spent much of the current campaign searching for a way to assemble a string of results and push up the Eastern Conference table.
Slowly, they’ve done just that. The Revs are unbeaten in three (1-0-2) and are looking at a three-game home stand poised to start with Seattle's visit on Saturday (7:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online). So there’s no time like the present to cobble together the desired run of good form.
“It's a huge game,” head coach Jay Heaps told MLSsoccer.com of Seattle’s visit. “Enormous. This game is as big as it gets for us. We haven't played our best – even against Chicago, we didn't play our best – but we've gotten results. We've gotten a couple of ties and a win, but, unfortunately, in this league, you have to win.”
Between the Lines: Saer Sene, the 9 and 1/2
There were opportunities to emerge with victories in each of the past two matches, but a resolute performance by Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and a slow start against Toronto FC left the Revs to settle for a point in each.
A comprehensive review of the tape from the 2-2 draw against the Reds – a game that Heaps and several of his players said looked much better on second viewing – and the late fightback to secure a draw provides a starting point for the game against Seattle.
Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen said he and his teammates must reproduce the type of incisiveness they displayed in the second half against TFC in order to secure all three points.
“We just have to keep playing with confidence and keep the ball moving,” Nguyen said. “We have to be patient with it and try not to turn it over in bad spots because they're good on the counterattack.”
Nguyen and his teammates will have to cope with Seattle's attacking weapons without the services of Kevin Alston (left hamstring tightness) and José Moreno (left ankle sprain) after both players were ruled out on Friday's injury report, but captain Shalrie Joseph (right adductor strain) should return to the squad after a one-match absence.
Joseph's inclusion should make trying to cope with the Sounders a tad bit easier. Seattle enters this match on a club-record seven-match winless streak, but Sigi Schmid's side still poses a significant threat in the wake of their 1-0 victory at San Jose in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Tuesday, according to Heaps.
“To be honest with you, I just think the [league] results haven't gone their way,” Heaps said. “More so in the Portland game, I thought they pushed the game in the end. I thought in the Kansas City game, they created a lot. Seattle's a very dangerous team. We have to be prepared for them.”