FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 15: Bernardo Anor #7 of the Columbus Crew takes the ball as Chris Tierney #8 of the New England Revolution defends on October 15, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Columbus Crew defeated the New England Revolution 3-0. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Benny Feilhaber and the New England Revolution are set to welcome the Columbus Crew to Gillette Stadium on Saturday night in what could be a decisive early battle for a playoff spot in the East (TV/Radio: CSNNE/98.5 The Sports Hub).
The New England Revolution will return to MLS action on Saturday night when they welcome the Columbus Crew to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The Revs last played two weeks ago when they beat Chicago 2-0, and will hope the bye week hasn't halted their momentum. The Crew, meanwhile, also played Chicago last, prevailing 2-1 all the way back in May before a two-week layoff.
Columbus is something of an enigma. The Crew have strong players at every position (except up front), but they also fill out their lineup with a whole host of relative unknowns. Thus, if New England expects to win, they should probably just play to their usual dominating home style. Andy Gruenebaum has one of the best Goals-Against Averages in MLS, so the Revs will have to create a lot of chances if they expect to get one past him.
The Crew attack is focused through MLS veteran and known beard enthusiast Eddie Gaven, who can use his wide range of talents to get in the box, create, and score. They'll also be missing Dilly Duka, a young starlet who helps drive the attack and serves as one of their more dangerous players, but he is being ably replaced by Justin Meram, a forward bumped out to the wing who is scoring goals and giving defenses fits. The New England back line needs to be careful and organized, and neutralize Gaven before focusing on anything else.
The Revs won't be missing any key pieces they haven't already done without so far this season. Sainey Nyassi has finally been taken off the disabled list and upgraded to questionable, along with Clyde Simms, who has nearly overcome his tendonitis. Michael Roach joins them with adductor strain. Zak Boggs, Ryan Guy, and Tim Murray are listed as out.
Columbus has dominated this series all-time in MLS play. New England has posted a 16-28-10 record against the Crew since 1996, with an only slightly better 10-13-4 mark at home. Last season, the Crew swept the Revs, winning 3-0 at Gillette and 3-1 at Crew Stadium.
The match will be televised live starting at 7:30 PM EST on CSN. 98.5 The Sports Hub will handle the radio call.