The New England Revolution traveled to Ohio this weekend to take on the Columbus Crew in their second consecutive road match, kicking off on Saturday night. The Revs are struggling through a four-match losing streak, part of an even longer stretch of seven games without a win. Columbus, on the other hand, are on a pretty good run of form, and though they sit seventh in the East, they have several games in hand on the clubs above them, giving them ample opportunity for a playoff push.
The Crew play great defense, and can be very difficult to break down, as the Revolution discovered the last time these two teams met. The creative players in the Revs lineup will struggle mightily to find space and lanes in which to work, and will have to be prepared to get dirty and bruised if they want to create chances for Saer Sene and Jerry Bengtson.
Offensively, Columbus has undergone a midseason overhaul that transformed their offense from weak to deadly nearly instantaneously. A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy will have their hands full with Jairo Arrieta, the new hot hand striker for the Crew, while designated player Federico Higuain sits in the hole pulling the strings. In two matches, Higuain has already tallied two assists and a goal, and his creativity is the perfect complement to the hustle and hard work of players like Eddie Gaven and Emilio Renteria.
Lee Nguyen, replaced at halftime last week with an ankle knock, is listed as probable for Saturday night's match. Alec Purdie has been upgraded to questionable, while Blair Gavin's Revolution debut will probably have to wait at least another week as he is listed doubtful. Sainey Nyassi is out with an adductor strain, joining Bobby Shuttleworth, who is still recovering from a knee sprain.
The Revolution have a poor all-time record against Columbus, posting a 16-28-11 record since the league's inaugural season. They are particularly unsuccessful on the road; the away record is 6-15-6. The Crew swept the season series last year, winning emphatically in both fixtures and scoring three goals in each. The Revs and the Crew have met once already this season, fighting to an ugly 0-0 draw in Foxboro.
The match will be televised live on CSN at 7:30 PM EST. 98.5 The Sports Hub will handle the radio call.