BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Revolution look to claim the Eastern Conference Championship and a spot in the MLS Cup for the first time since 2007 on Saturday afternoon.
The Revs host the New York Red Bulls at Gillette Stadium in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship, and are sitting pretty following last weekend’s 2-1 win in New York in the first leg.READ MORE: Body Believed To Be Missing Five-Year-Old Elijah Lewis Found In Abington
The Revolution, the top-scoring team in the MLS Cup Playoffs, will advance to their first MLS Cup in seven years with a win, draw or a 1-0 loss thanks to last week’s result. With their two goals last Sunday, New England is up to nine goals for the playoffs. No other team has scored more than six goals this postseason.
Teal Bunbury, Charlie Davies and Lee Nguyen all have two goals apiece during the playoffs, with Bunbury, Nguyen and Jermaine Jones, who scored the game-winner last Sunday in the 85th minute, lead the club with two assists each. It’s been a balanced attack by the Revolution, who have gotten goals from six different players in their three playoff wins.
“There are so many guys that can cause problems for other teams,” said Bunbury, who has one goal and one assist in each of the last two games. “If Lee’s getting marked up, if Jermaine is, if Charlie is, there are guys that can come off the bench, as well. It’s just finding that right opportunity and that right time to be able to exploit them and have that unselfish character.”
Even with the 2-1 advantage in goals heading into Saturday’s match, Revolution head coach Jay Heaps still wants his team to be aggressive on the offensive end.
“When we’re aggressive, we’re a better team,” said Heaps, who added that New England’s win in the first leg was not their best showing. “We’re excited that we have an opportunity to win at home and go through, but at the same time, we feel that we have more to offer. Hopefully we can do that on Saturday.”
New York will be without Bradley Wright-Phillips, who tied the league’s single-season scoring record with 27 goals in the regular season and leads the league with four playoff goals, who is suspended for Saturday’s match because of caution accumulation. Tim Cahill, the all-time scorer for the Australian national team, will likely step in and see the bulk of the action in Wright-Phillips absence, giving the Revolution defense a different scorer to worry about.
“We know they’re a good attacking team,” Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth said earlier this week. “They’ve scored a lot of goals this year and they’re very dangerous going forward, so we knew we were going to be in for a tough test. We know coming home we’ve got to stay organized, keep our communication and keep our lines. We’re going to be in for a battle.”READ MORE: 'Mecca Of Rowing': Head Of The Charles Regatta Participants Grateful For Event's Return
New York will also have Thierry Henry, who doesn’t normally play on artificial surfaces like the one at Gillette Stadium, on the attack. The 37-year-old has four assists in New York’s four playoff matches.
The Revolution will advance to the MLS Cup with a win, draw or a 1-0 loss, and can only be eliminated with a loss by two goals or more, or a one-goal loss in which the Red Bulls score three or more goals. If Saturday’s game finishes 2-1 in favor of New York, the series will be decided by 30 minutes (two 15-minute halves) of extra time, and if the score remains tied through that, the Eastern Conference would be decided by penalty kicks.
Over 1,000 Revolution fans traveled to New York for Sunday’s win, and the team is expecting a packed house at Gillette for Saturday — providing even more fuel for an Revs team that looks like they’re operating at the highest level.
“Our last playoff home game, they were really loud again and I fully expect that to be the situation again come Saturday,” said Shuttleworth. “As players, we really appreciate it.”
Brad Feldman Previews Revs-Red Bulls On The Adam Jones Show:
Saturday’s Revolution-Red Bulls Eastern Conference Championship match can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub, beginning at 3pm!
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