Preview: #NEvVAN

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

The New England Revolution (0-0-2, 0 points) will hope to record their first points of the season when they welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps (1-0-1, four points)  at Gillette Stadium on Saturday for their home opener at 2:00 pm.

The Revs have struggled in the early part of the season so far.  A pair of road losses to Houston and Philadelphia, along with a negative-five goal differential, has sunk them to the bottom of the Eastern Conference table.

Vancouver started the season solidly under new coach Carl Robinson, recording four points in their first two games. Robinson’s side comes to Gillette Stadium as the Western Conference leader.

The new-look Whitecaps debuted their season by slaying the New York Red Bulls 4-1 in Vancouver and coming from behind last week in California courtesy of Kekuta Manneh’s late strike to earn a point against a surprising Chivas USA side.

Kekuta, who’s scored a goal in each of his last five MLS matches, looks be the Revs’ latest nightmare on the defensive front. He will likely be partnered upfront with Kenny Miller  and Jamaican international Darren Mattocks. Midfielders Pedro Morales, Nigel Reo-Coker and Sebastián Fernández will look to stretch the field for the visitors. The Whitecaps may get back midfielder Russell Teibert, who was ruled unfit to face Chivas USA last week.

After making several changes for last week’s defeat to the Union, Jay Heaps will likely introduce some new wrinkles to this week’s lineup. Kelyn Rowe may return to the lineup after sitting out last week’s match due to a hamstring injury.  Diego Fagundez, Teal Bundury and Lee Nguyen are expected to spark the attack for the home-side.

Former U.S. Men’s National Team stalwart Jay DeMerit, who joined the Canadian side in 2011, acknowledged earlier this week that New England may be winless, but has the motivations to put together a good performance in Foxboro.

“They’re coming off two losses so they’re going to want to put points on the board,” DeMerit told the media on Tuesday. “They have all the inspiration needed to put in a good home performance and we’re going to have to combat that and make sure we go in ready from minute one.”

Jose Goncalves’ standing with the Revolution remains the biggest storyline surrounding the club. Unhappy with his contract,  Goncalves was not only dropped from the lineup, but was not a part of the gameday 18 in week’s match at Philadelphia. For the first time since joining the club, Goncalves’ spot in the lineup is no longer a certainty.

New England leads the all-time series between the clubs with a  2-1-1 record, with both wins coming at Gillette Stadium, including a 4-1 victory back in 2012.

However, the last time these two teams met, the Whitecaps erased a two-goal deficit to beat a short-handed Revolution side 4-3 to give the Canadian club its first victory over New England.

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About Benson Petit-Clair