FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The one-match ban handed to Thierry Henry on Friday afternoon won't change the task at hand for New England on Saturday night against the New York Red Bulls (7:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
Sure, it's just a touch easier to try to defend the Red Bulls when Henry isn't on the field. But his omission doesn't alter New York's fundamental desire to control the proceedings by maintaining possession.
It is, on the whole, a task that requires ample doses of discipline and toil from the Revolution in order to overcome the continued absence of Chris Tierney (left hamstring strain/left knee sprain) and prolong a 15-match unbeaten run against the Red Bulls at Gillette Stadium, dating back to 2002.
“You have to be very patient,” Revolution defender Stephen McCarthy told MLSsoccer.com. “We have to be patient and let it come into our zone. Then we can press hard.”
New England may not press as ardently or as successfully as Sporting Kansas City did in their 2-0 win at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night, but they know when to apply a bit of stress to the opposing team on the ball. It isn't a matter of high pressure all of the time with the Revs. It is about picking the right moments to place the opposition under duress.
“We felt like, in D.C., we did find those right areas,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “We got ourselves into the right spots. Now we have to go back to watch the tape and do the same against New York.”
Impending personnel changes for the Red Bulls will impact how and where the Revs will want to attack the opposition. Rafael Márquez requires constant attention in central midfield due to his penchant to concede possession when closed down and unleash threatening diagonal balls when granted space. If he misses out, then the focus may shift elsewhere as the Revs try to assess when and where to squeeze the Red Bulls on the ball.
Even if Hans Backe rings the changes after the midweek defeat, the calculus remains the same: find a way to interrupt the Red Bulls' rhythm on the ball and use those turnovers to secure a positive result at home.
“When a team likes to possess it, you try to disrupt it a little bit with the pressure points where we feel they'll give it back to us,” Heaps said. “That said, New York doesn't have many of those. They're a good team. They're fighting for the Supporters' Shield. It's going to be a nice task, a nice game for us to measure ourselves.”