Preview: #SJvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Two teams in search of their first win of 2014 face off at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday, where the New England Revolution (0-2-1, 1 point) and San Jose Earthquakes (0-1-1, 1 point) will meet for an intra-conference clash. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:30 pm EST.

The match will mark the only meeting between the MLS originals this season. Their last clash came in Jul. 2013, when Saer Sene and Dimitry Imbongo combined to give the Revs a convincing 2-0 victory in Foxboro and put an end to their three-game winless run.

No doubt that New England will be in need of similar magic when they renew acquaintances with the Quakes. In a scoreless draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps at Gillette Stadium last week, the Revs managed to pick up their first point of the young season, but their inability to score has dropped them to the depths of the Eastern Conference table.

The Earthquakes, meanwhile, have managed to garner only a point as well, even after a thrilling 3-3 comeback draw to Real Salt Lake in their home opener seemed to signal that the never-say-die Goonies were back.

But the excitement from that captivating draw has since cooled. Not long after, the Quakes suffered a gut-wrenching defeat in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals 5-4 in penalties against Mexico’s Toluca. Three days later, they were dealt another blow in league play by Sporting Kansas City, who snatched a 1-0 victory thanks to a second half penalty from Dom Dwyer.

Outside of the potential absence of Kelyn Rowe, who picked up an injury in the dying minutes last week, Jay Heaps is likely to rely on the same personnel that held Vancouver scoreless. That means Saer Sene will likely get his second start of the season following his strong showing at home last week against the Whitecaps.

With the contract controversies in the rearview, team captain Jose Goncalves is in line to anchor the backline again, with Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares and Chris Tierney all looking to help the Revs pick up a second clean sheet.

In the midfield, veteran Andy Dorman is likely to start again over the 23-year-old Scott Caldwell, who started last week’s game on the bench before coming on late for Rowe. With Rowe listed as out on the injury report, Daigo Kobayashi is expected to fill his spot in the middle of the park.

Up top, Jay Heaps is expected to keep his trusts in Teal Bunbury, while  Jerry Bengston and Dimitry Imbongo will be his top choices off the bench to bolster attack.

As for the hosts, the opening draw to Salt Lake and subsequent defeat against Sporting KC will only mean that they’ll be anxious to pounce on the offensively-challenged Revs. San Jose will be counting on goal artist Chris Wondolowski and his partner in crime, Steven Lenhart, to put their guests on their backheels. Newcomer Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, who played a pivotal role in the 3-3 draw, will be counted upon to secure the midfield for San Jose.

The Revs will remain on the road the following weekend to face Eastern Conference rival D.C. United before returning home to host the Houston Dynamo, where they’ll get a chance to avenge their jarring 4-0 opening week defeat.

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About Benson Petit-Clair