The New England Revolution will look to wrap up a three-match, eight-day home stand against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night in Foxboro. The Revs, after playing a bore 0-0 draw with Philadelphia on Saturday, have extended their winless run to ten matches with no end in sight. Columbus, meanwhile, is arguably the hottest team in MLS, going unbeaten in their last six on the strength of the inspired play of new designated player Federico Higuain.
New England just played Columbus a week and a half ago, in Columbus. Out of nowhere, a then-anemic Revolution attack came to life and put up three goals against the Crew. There's no reason why the same thing can't happen again at home on Wednesday night. Carlos Mendes looks to be out with an injury, and the Crew defense is now working on its seventh match in just about three weeks; fatigue will be a factor. Though the Revs will be without starting strikers Saer Sene and Jerry Bengtson, their replacements should be able to get some momentum going against a Crew team that simply has to get tired sometime. Look for big games from Diego Fagundez if he plays, and Dimitry Imbongo, who continues to get closer and closer to the mark in the time that he's been given.
Offensively, Columbus is arguably the most dangerous team in the league at this moment. The Crew proved that against the Revs eleven days ago when they saw the Revs' three goals and then scored one more, winning the match 4-3. The man at the center of it all is Higuain; the Argentine DP has played so incredibly well in the last few weeks that he is beginning to worm his way into the fringes of the MVP debate despite missing at least the first half of the season. He scores goals - beautiful ones, as anyone who remembers his free kicks against New England would attest - but he also creates them, and his touch and class has raised the game of guys around him like Eddie Gaven and Jairo Arrieta.
A.J. Soares, who missed the Philadelphia match due to concussion-like symptoms (listed as whiplash), is probable. That doesn't mean he'll play; he was probable on the weekend as well. Blair Gavin is still doubtful and thus unlikely to make his Revolution debut, and Bobby Shuttleworth has also been updated to doubtful. Sainey Nyassi and Saer Sene are out. Though not injured, Jerry Bengtson will also miss Wednesday night's match as he has traveled to meet up with the Honduras national team for their World Cup qualifiers against Cuba.
New England's all-time record against Columbus is 16-29-11, with a losing record even at home at 10-13-5. The Crew swept the 2011 season series, and are in pole position right now to finish winners in the 2012 series, having already drawn and beaten the Revs this season. The previous two meetings ended in a 0-0 draw at Gillette and a 4-3 loss for New England in Columbus. Ryan Guy, Jerry Bengtson, and Lee Nguyen were the Revolution goalscorers, while Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta hit a brace each for the win.
The match will be broadcast live on CSN at 8:00 PM EST. 98.5 The Sports Hub will handle the radio call.
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