The New England Revolution are prepared to welcome an old enemy to Gillette Stadium in the Chicago Fire on Saturday night. The Revs hope to erase the embarrassment of losing to the Harrisburg City Islanders in the US Open Cup this week, while the Fire need to avenge a disappointing cup loss of their own to the Michigan Bucks.
It will be crucial for New England to be strong on the offensive against Chicago. Injuries to Arne Friedrich and former Rev Cory Gibbs have left the Fire shorthanded and vulnerable at the back, and with the home crowd behind them, the Revs need to press and take advantage. They aren't going to get anywhere with timidity.
Chicago can certainly score, but more worrisome for the Revs is the Fire's speed. Dominic Oduro might be the fastest player in MLS, and he routinely gets service from Patrick Nyarko, another guy with pace. New England has not dealt well with speed when confronted with it; Fabian Castillo made mincemeat of the Revs' backline when they played in Dallas a few months ago. The Revs need to be mindful of Oduro and Nyarko's capabilities in Foxboro.
The midfield will be stretched thin for the Revolution with Clyde Simms and Ryan Guy both listed as "out." They are joined by Sainey Nyassi, Florian Lechner, Tim Murray, and Zak Boggs. Bjorn Runstrom was upgraded to "questionable" on Friday, and thus could make a return to the bench for this match.
The Fire hold the lead in the all-time series between the two clubs with a 13-18-9 record, but the Revs have an advantage at home, where they are 9-8-3. New England and Chicago also have a small rivalry due to the number of times they've met in the postseason, where the Revs made a habit of sending the Fire home in the middle of the last decade. Last season, the two teams drew in Foxboro before Chicago put away New England at Toyota Park by a 3-2 scoreline.
The match will be televised live on CSN starting at 7:30 PM EST, while 98.5 The Sports Hub will handle the radio call.
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