July 4, 2017 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - New England Revolution
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - For the New England Revolution, July is all about home, sweet home.
The Revs (5-8-5, 20 pts.) will play three straight league games and a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal at home this month, beginning on Wednesday night when they'll host the New York Red Bulls (7-8-2, 23 pts.) at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., with Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama handling the English call on CSN New England and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM.
Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on CSN New England.
Fans attending the match will be treated to a postgame fireworks show to celebrate Independence Day. Tickets for the match (including the postgame festivities) can be purchased HERE.
Current Form: Revs turn to home form to help them snap three-game skid
A depleted Revolution lineup was no match for the Philadelphia Union on Sunday evening, conceding in the first five minutes of both halves en route to a 3-0 loss at Talen Energy Stadium. It was the Revs' third straight loss in league play and dropped them five points back of the playoffs places in the East.
New England will have a golden opportunity to turn things around the in the month of July, however, as they'll play their next three league games within the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium. Although they lost their last match in Foxborough - 2-1 to the league-leading Chicago Fire - they're 9-1-2 in their last 12 home games overall.
"We know how crucial these games are now," said captain Lee Nguyen. "We've left a lot of points so far that we felt we should've had, but now it's do or die. We need maximum points, especially at home. [Wednesday's} a must-win for us."
The Red Bulls are also currently on the outside of the playoff places looking in, and they've had something of a rollercoaster season to date. They've alternated results in each of their last four matches, going 2-2-0, most recently dropping a 2-0 decision in the New York derby back on June 24.
Most of the Red Bulls' struggles have been away from home, where they've lost six of their eight matches.
Past Meetings: Home-field advantage continues to be king in the NE-NY series
Home teams have dominated recent history in the Revolution - Red Bulls series, with the hosts winning the last seven regular-season matchups dating back to 2014. The sides haven't played to a draw since 2013.
That pattern continued in the first meeting of the year between these two teams on May 27, as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Daniel Royer scored second-half goals to cancel out an early Lee Nguyen penalty to complete New York's come-from-behind, 2-1 victory at Red Bull Arena.
New England's home-field advantage against New York extends all the way back to 1996, as the Revs boast a record of 21-5-7 against the Red Bulls (formerly the MetroStars) in Foxborough.
Injury Report: Delamea, Fagundez back in the mix ahead of crucial summer showdown
The depleted Revs are likely to get some help in the form of Antonio Delamea and Diego Fagundez on Wednesday night as both look set to return after missing the match against Philadelphia.
Delamea was available on the bench against the Union, but didn't feature just three days after undergoing surgery to repair the fractured nose he suffered two weeks ago in Toronto. The rugged center back has since been removed from the injury report, however, and has been training full in the buildup to Wednesday.
"He cleared everything; cleared all the procedures that he had to have with the surgery. It was a late surgery because he needed the swelling to go down," Heaps said. "We wanted to have him as an option, but we felt like he probably needed a little bit more training time before he was ready to go."
Fagundez, meanwhile, had his string of 70 consecutive regular-season appearances snapped when he served a one-game suspension on Sunday, and his return should provide a shot of adrenaline to the attack.
"It's a big, big boost offensively," Nguyen said of Fagundez's return. "He gives us more dynamic play, because he can beat players one on one, and at the same time, he can combine."
Heaps said central midfielder Xavier Kouassi is "getting closer" to a return from his quad injury, while Juan Agudelo (USMNT), Kelyn Rowe (USMNT) and Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica) are all on international duty.
Final Thoughts: Nguyen says veterans must "help lead this team" through crucial summer
"Obviously it's going to put more responsibility on us, of course," Nguyen said of the veteran core stepping up in the absence of several starters. "Guys who are going to get the opportunity to fill those shoes, that's their chance to step up and show that they can make a big play and big change in the team.
"This is going to be a great opportunity for them, and at the same time, we're going to have to step up even more and help lead this team."