The New England Revolution (10-9-7, 37 points) will be looking to maintain their three-game unbeaten streak when they welcome the Montreal Impact (12-7-6, 42 points) – one of three clubs atop the tightly-packed Eastern Conference table – at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
Both sides saw their playoffs pushes come to a crawl for the time being, as they both played out a draw on the road last week. The two clubs will expect to bounce back in order to improve their seeding in the conference.
After receiving an early goal from Diego Fagundez last week, the Revs tied Toronto FC 1-1 at BMO Field in Toronto, a place where success has been hard to come by for the local XI.
For their part, the Impact travel to New England after a scoreless draw on the road last week in Philadelphia, a team the Revs demolished 5-1 the week before.
Montreal is currently on a three-way tie with the New York and Sporting Kansas City for the first place in the conference with 42 points each. But Montreal has two games on hand on both the Red Bulls and Sporting K.C. Meanwhile, New England is in fifth place with 37 points over the Houston Dynamo (37 points) by virtue of their goals-for total (35 to 30).
The all-time, head-to-head record between the two favor the Impact over the Revs, as the Impact, who joined MLS as an expansion team last season, have beaten the Revs in two of the three matches played by scoring three goals in those pair of victories. However, the last meeting was decided on a header from A.J. Soares in the concluding minutes to give the Revs their first win over the Impact.
New England will be without the services of the rarely-used Honduran forward Jerry Bengtson and newly-acquired defender O’Brian Woodbine of Jamaica as both have been called upon for international duties with their respective countries.
Meanwhile, Revs head coach Jay Heaps has to be concerned with the status of striker Juan Agudelo, who suffered a hamstring injury during last week’s contest in Toronto. The 20-year-old forward was not spotted at training on Wednesday, and his status for Sunday is uncertain at this point.
The Revs aren’t the only ones with injury concerns. On Tuesday, Impact midfielder Hernán Bernardello tweeted a picture of his left ankle, which he injured in the 72nd minute, and suggested that he may be out for at least three weeks. If that proves to be the case, he will likely be replaced in the starting line-up by Davy Arnaud or Collen Warner.
The Revs have only allowed 25 goals this season, and they remain the best defensive team in MLS, while Montreal possesses one of the most prolific offenses in the conference with 41 goals scored, with 15 of them coming from golden boot frontrunner Marco Di Vaio.
Although the stats suggest that the Impact have the upper hand, the challenge posed to the Revolution isn’t insurmountable by any stretch. The Impact have only gained two points in their last six games on the road. In that span, they were defeated by low-ranked teams like D.C. United, Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire. Their last road win in league plays came against Sporting K.C. three months ago. New England won five of their last eight matches at home.
Sunday’s clash is the first of two games the conference foes will face off against each other this season. They will play each other again on Saturday, October 19 at Stade Saputo in Montreal (Canada) for the second and final time this season — unless, of course, they meet in the playoffs.