FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Ignorance simply isn't an option at this stage of the season. Just ask New England: The Revolution travel to Montreal on Friday with full knowledge of the gauntlet ahead to book their first postseason berth since 2009.
The road to the postseason likely involves results in each of the final three games, including this excursion to Stade Saputo on Saturday afternoon (2:30 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS Live in US). It is exactly the sort of scenario that prompts teams to alter their approaches in a bid to procure the necessary points, but Revolution defender Chris Tierney said the Revs will try to adhere to their usual practices ahead of this critical date against the Impact.
“We're all well aware of where we stand,” Tierney told MLSsoccer.com. “We can't avoid it. Everyone knows what is at stake. We're trying to make sure we stay in our routine despite the fact that each one of these games is the biggest game of the year. We'll make sure we continue to prepare the way we have all year long and make sure we're ready to do what we do well on Saturday.”
Montreal – with considerable help from an early ejection – restricted the Revolution's ability to assert their will in possession in the 4-2 victory at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 8. The dropped point in that affair contributed to the Revs' current predicament (they enter the weekend three points behind fifth-placed Philadelphia with three matches remaining) and provided some valuable intelligence heading into the return match this weekend.
“We've played them already at home,” Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen said. “We know what to expect from them. We have to try not to give up an early one and get one of ours.”
Those plans may change somewhat given the revamped landscape heading into this match. Montreal enter this tie with selection questions across the board: starting fullbacks Jeb Brovsky (broken toe) and Hassoun Camara (yellow-card accumulation) are confirmed absentees, while Patrice Bernier (hip), Marco Di Vaio (left ankle) and Justin Mapp must prove their fitness in order to feature.
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Montreal's evolving lineup – perhaps including the returning Hernán Bernardello (ankle) and Alessandro Nesta (groin) – and the increased pressure on the outcome creates a different outlook for this affair, according to Revolution coach Jay Heaps.
“I think there are some different components to the match,” Heaps said. “Hopefully, we'll have 11 men for a little bit longer. I think they're getting guys back who didn't play. [Montreal forward Andrés] Romero didn't play against us. Bernardello wasn't available against us. They're a little different side as well. The elements of this game are different, the intensity is higher because both teams are playing for points.”
Heaps and the Revs must cope with the rigorous assignment without the services of Jerry Bengtson and Andy Dorman. Bengtson linked up with Honduras on international duty this week, while Dorman must serve a one-match ban after receiving a red card in the 2-2 draw at New York last weekend.