FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When New England Revolution players Juan Agudelo and Matt Turner saw the 2019 MLS schedule, this Saturday’s match (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada) at the New York Red Bulls jumped off the page.
“It’s the No. 1 [match] I want to mark down on my calendar and get set up with family and tickets,” said Agudelo, who was born in Colombia and grew up in New Jersey. He also began his professional career with the Red Bulls as a Homegrown Player in 2010.
Turner grew up in New Jersey as well, and said it’s “a big moment” whenever he faces the Red Bulls. He competed against their academy teams before heading to Fairfield, though he never joined the MLS side.
“When I say my ‘home fans,’ I mean friends and family,” Turner said. “They come in big numbers so to speak, like too many. I eventually just have to tell them that if they want to come they have to buy a ticket."
While Agudelo and Turner frame playing at Red Bull Arena as a homecoming, this match could have a profound impact on the Eastern Conference playoff race. New England (34 points) is in sixth place, but can catch New York (37 points) with a road win.
The Revs have won both meetings against the Red Bulls this season, once at Gillette Stadium and then once down a man in extra time in the U.S. Open Cup.
“I don’t think they were too happy when we knocked them out of the Open Cup and I’m sure their coaches are telling them, ‘We got to get these guys back,’” Agudelo said. “We beat them at home on a late goal, so they’re definitely going to want to get that win against us.”
Turner said there is “definitely no love lost” between the two teams, with matches between these MLS originals usually pretty chippy.
As for Revs head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena, he coached the Red Bulls back in 2006 and ‘07, just as they transitioned out of their MetroStars era. He’s been around the league long enough to know what these games typically entail.
“I think we’re the only team in the league that actually doesn’t have a rival,” Arena quipped. “Don’t you think the Red Bulls’ rival is New York City FC?”
Arena added that neither prior win over the Red Bulls are part of his thoughts ahead of Saturday. But what did bring a smile to Arena’s face was knowing that 500 season-ticket holders will make the trip to support the team.
“It’s great because road games in this league are not easy,” Arena said. “To have our supporters attending the match is real good, so we’re pleased with that and we look forward to their support.”