In a league where every point matters, the Revolution (7-4-6, 27 points, 5th in the East) will play the second of a three-match home stand Saturday night, and their opponent is another struggling side. Three points aren’t just expected this week. Three points are a necessity.
Seattle Sounders FC (4-9-3, 15 points, 10th in West) come to Fortress Foxborough this weekend with a short turnaround, having played the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night, a 2-1 win for The Boys In Blue’s guests this weekend. But keeping that in perspective, the Rapids are an even worse side than Seattle, or the Revs’ opponent last Saturday, DC United.
New England will have to up its game from last week, where the Revs struggled to break down United. First-year gaffer Brad Friedel wasn’t too pleased with the first half, and goalkeeper Matt Turner did not believe the team played its best game.
Friedel believes the Sounders are similar to United: a side that has struggled despite having good players.
“Player-wise, they're very, very good, so we have to be at the top of our game,” Friedel said earlier this week. “I feel if we are at the top of our game at home, then we'll be looking for the three points. But no three points are ever just handed to you. You have to work hard and earn every single point that you get."
That being said, New England should salivate in attack, seeing as Portland Timbers FC put three beyond Sounders reserve keeper Bryan Meredith a week ago in PTFC’s first-ever win in Major League Soccer at the Clink. Meredith played well in Stefan Frei’s stead as Frei battled a concussion. Frei played at the Rapids Wednesday and is expected to be between the sticks Saturday.
But they do have a rather flat-footed defense, anchored by Chad Marshall, who is not the fleetest of foot. Against Portland in a nationally televised contest, the Sounders had difficulty in closing down on the Timbers in the defending third. Portland also scored a pair of goals on set pieces.
In addition, with the exception of super sub — and former Rev — Clint Dempsey, they don’t have great pace up top, which should benefit New England’s defending. Will Bruin is Seattle’s leading scorer with five goals in ’18, with Nicolas Lodeiro has five helpers. Another thing which should be a positive this week? Seattle is slow in bringing the ball up the pitch.
The Sounders had to deal with Portland’s high press last Saturday, but the Timbers’ press did not exhibit the high work rate that New England’s brings to the table. It will be interesting to see how Seattle handles it.
The secondary transfer window opens up in just four days, and Friedel still wants to add one or two new faces to the squad over the course of the next month. We’ll have a nice little primer for you in the coming days on what the Revs really need — of course, if you watch the team with a prying eye, you know exactly what the club needs.
“If we do (make additions), those players will be great additions to this squad, to an already really strong squad,” Friedel said.
Friedel has been mum on which positions he wants to add, or who he’s looking at. The dean of Boston soccer writers, Frank Dell’Apa, tweeted last weekend that Bojan Krkic of Stoke City was a potential Friedel target.
The Revs are 4-1-1 at home against the Sounders, with the lone home defeat coming back in October 2011, a 2-1 decision. Since then, New England has recorded results in five of the last six meetings against Seattle, including wins in the Sounders’ last two trips to Gillette: the Revs won 5-0 in the 2014 meeting, and 2-1 in ’16 ... No significant changes on the Revs' injury report. In fact, it's the same as fast week, with Isaac Angking recovering, Femi Hollinger-Janzen out with the dislocated elbow, and Chris Tierney out for the season with his torn ACL ... Buried in the game notes for Saturday: the club has re-loaned young forward Mark Segbers to Orange County SC as of Thursday.