BOSTON (CBS) — While the Patriots are off this weekend, the New England Revolution will look to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Championship Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
The Revs host the Columbus Crew in the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup, and are sitting pretty after last weekend’s 4-2 win in Columbus.READ MORE: NASA Discovers First Possible Planet Outside Milky Way Galaxy
Because it’s an aggregate goals series, New England can move on to their first Eastern Conference Championship since 2007 in a number of ways on Sunday. They advance with a win or draw, and can even afford a one-goal loss. They would also advance with a two goal loss if Columbus doesn’t score four or more goals.
MORE: Revolution Stats Page
If Columbus defeats the Revs 4-2 on Saturday, the series would go to extra time with two 15-minute halves, followed by penalty kicks if the series remains tied on aggregate goals.
With their opponents needing at least three goals to wipe out last weekend’s first leg of the series, the Revolution know the Crew will come out firing when things get underway at 5pm on Sunday.
“There’s no team I know of that wants to go on the field and sit back for the first 15 or 20 minutes,” said New England head coach Jay Heaps, who guided the Revs to a 17-13-4 record in his third season at the helm. “Both teams are going to be going forward, both teams are going to be pushing.”
The Revolution’s aggressive attack saw them go 10-1-1 in their last 12 games, so don’t expect them to change things up despite the comfortable cushion they have heading into Sunday’s match.
“We can’t go off and have such a good performance last Saturday and then come out on Sunday flat,” defender Andrew Farrell told the team’s website. “We know it’s a lot about momentum and we want to come out and play that way.READ MORE: Nor'easter To Bring Heavy Rain, High Winds, Possible Flooding And Power Outages
“I think we just want to come out and play our brand of soccer,” said Farrell, who was second on the team in minutes played behind goalkeeper Bobby Shuttlesworth. “That’s what we’ve been doing the past two months that we’ve been on this run.”
The Revolution are going to come out with some fire on Sunday night, looking to put things away early.
“I think the first half is going to determine a lot,” said Kelyn Rowe, who was second on the team with five goals — behind only MVP candidate Lee Nguyen’s 18 tallies in the regular season. “I think it’s going to be the same kind of game (as the first leg) – it’s going to be a hard-fought game, it’s going to be a fast game, and I don’t think we’re going to play any different. I don’t think we should.”
Sunday will be the fifth time these two teams match up this season. Columbus took the first two games during the regular season, a 2-1 win in New England in July and a 1-0 win in Columbus in September, but New England has won the last two meetings. With second place in the Eastern Conference on the line, the Revs beat the Crew 2-1 in early October in a soggy contest at Gillette thanks to goals by Nguyen and World Cup star Jermaine Jones.
Last Saturday in Columbus, Charlie Davies led the way for New England with a pair of goals. Columbus made it a 2-1 game with their first goal in the 64th minute, but Nguyen added some insurance off a nice feed from Jones in the 70th minute and Davies sealed it with his second tally in the 78th minute. The four goals scored set a club record for goals in a postseason game by New England.
Now the series shifts back to Gillette Stadium, where the Revolution are unbeaten in their last eight games.
You can hear Sunday’s playoff game between the Revs and Crew on 98.5 The Sports Hub beginning at 5pm!MORE NEWS: 2 Massachusetts Schools At Top Of Best Universities In The World List
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