Preview: Crew vs. Revolution

Crew look to clinch playoff berth at Gillette

The Basics

New England Revolution (7-14-4, 25 points, sixth in the Eastern Conference) vs. Columbus Crew (13-7-5, 44 points, first in the Eastern Conference), at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Columbus hold a 26-16-9 edge in the series, including a 12-10-3 advantage in Foxborough.

TV Info

7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-New England, ONN (local); Direct Kick, MatchDay Live

Game Intro

New England return home after a three-match road trip to host the suddenly stumbling Columbus.

Jeff Cunningham's stoppage-time goal snatched victory away from the Revs in Wednesday night's 2-2 draw at FC Dallas, but Steve Nicol's side will hope to avoid any lingering effects to secure its first win in four attempts.

Columbus will try to halt their recent defensive struggles (seven
goals conceded in two MLS matches) and secure the positive result
required to maintain their place atop the Eastern Conference. With the
right series of outcomes in other matches, the Crew could even clinch a
playoff berth with a victory despite the recent downturn in form.

New England Revolution

The Revs certainly came away disappointed after giving up two late
goals to let Dallas battle back for the draw. According to defender Kevin Alston, the team will just have to have short memory and forget about the result.

What New England won't want to forget about, however, is how they
played during the 80 minutes prior to giving up the first goal. After
watching his side produce one of their best road performances of the
season in Frisco on Wednesday, Revolution boss Steve Nicol may opt to
name an unchanged side for the Crew's visit.

Chris Tierney could continue at left back after providing the assist on Shalrie Joseph's opener, while Kenny Mansally may have earned a second consecutive start on the left wing after his active performance against FC Dallas.

Columbus Crew

Crew coach Robert Warzycha must sort through several injury
complaints after a 1-0 victory over Santos Laguna in CONCACAF Champions
League group play on Tuesday.

Chad Marshall
looms as perhaps the most significant loss after he suffered a kick to
the jaw against the Mexican side. Marshall has a history with concussion
concerns and did not train with the Crew on Thursday. Other potential
absentees include Danny O'Rourke (back), Gino Padula (ankle), Emilio Renteria (groin) and Robbie Rogers (knee).

The Crew, however, will be bolstered by Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
Warzycha said his star player, who usually doesn't play on artificial
turf, will take the field at Gillette Stadium. With Renteria ruled out,
the coach may team up Schelotto with newest arrival Andres Mendoza up
top.

"The Condor" has scored twice in all competitions since being signed
by the Crew on Sept. 3, including the capper in a win over the LA Galaxy.

Heroes & Villains

Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan vs. Brian Carroll and either Kevin Burns or Adam Moffat:
The Crew's central midfield duo has come under intense scrutiny in
recent weeks for indifferent performances in the engine room. After an
improved showing by Burns and Carroll against Santos Laguna on
Wednesday, the Crew will hope their central duo can hold their own
against Joseph and Phelan, particularly after Joseph's rampaging
performance against FC Dallas midweek.

Stat that makes you go “Hmmm”

Mendoza has scored twice in his past four appearances for Columbus –
including the vital matchwinner against Santos on Tuesday – as he works
his way to match fitness after signing a deal with the Crew on Sept. 3.

Keys to the Game

New England

  • Encourage Kenny Mansally and Sainey Nyassi to challenge the Columbus fullbacks.
  • Show the same type of determination and effort employed in Wednesday's draw at FC Dallas.

Columbus

  • Engineer a solid start to build on the momentum gained in CCL win vs. Santos and discourage the hosts.
  • Rise to the challenge in the center of the park.

Injuries

New England

OUT: FW Zak Boggs (concussion); GK Preston Burpo (R leg fracture/surgery); MF Nico Colaluca (L knee MCL sprain); FW Taylor Twellman (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: FW Edgaras Jankauskas (L adductor strain); PROBABLE: MF Khano Smith (R shoulder dislocation)

Columbus

OUT: MF Robbie Rogers (L knee surgery); MF Danny O'Rourke (back spasms); DOUBTFUL: DF Gino Padula (L ankle sprain)