By KEVIN KOCZWARA
The New England Revolution (8-9-6, 30 pts.) will try to bounce back after losing, 3-0, to Sporting Kansas City last weekend when the Chicago Fire (9-9-4, 31 pts.) visit Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
The two teams are headed in different directions at the moment. While New England has lost, and failed to score, in its last two games, Chicago is 3-1-1 in its last five. The good news for the Revolution is that the Fire’s road form has been poor this season (2-5-3) and New England will hope that trend continues on Saturday. First, though, the Revs will need to turn around their own home form, which head coach Jay Heaps said hasn’t been good enough and will have to improve if the team is to make a playoff push.
“I think there is a collective frustration that we haven’t gotten the points at home that we want to get,” said Heaps. “Our record at home isn’t good enough and we need to take the last six games at home and maximize each and every opportunity.”
New England lost and failed to score their last two home games and has taken just 15 points (4-4-3) from a possible 33 at home this season.
CHARLIE DAVIES’ DREAM MOVE
Charlie Davies wasn’t going to pass up a chance to play for his hometown team when the opportunity came. And Davies’ wife was not going to let him pass up the chance to return home after spending years traveling around Europe, helping him as he chased his dream overseas. For Davies, the chance to sign with the Revolution on loan from his Danish SuperLiga team, Randers FC, until the end of the season was too good to pass up not only because it was a chance to play in front of friends and family, but also because the move made his wife happy, which makes him happy. And the former USMNT forward is hoping those good vibes help fuel his performances on the field.
“[My wife] was probably more excited than I was,” said Davies after training on Wednesday. “After she graduated college from Boston College she came out to live with me in Europe, so she hasn’t really been stateside except for two weeks at a time. She’s ecstatic to be around her friends and family. We live five minutes from her parents’ home.
“I’m so happy because she’s so happy. That makes me happy. And when you’re happy you play well,” said Davies.
Davies, who went to Brooks School in North Andover, Mass., and Boston College, was a Revolution fan growing up and he says it’s a dream to be playing for the team he grew up rooting for.
“It’s kind of a childhood dream to come here and play at Gillette Stadium for the New England Revolution,” said Davies. “(I’m) just looking forward to it and really want to make a difference. And I think (with) my experience, as well as my skill set, I think I can help this team going forward.”
Davies says he’s physically ready to play this weekend when the Revolution take on the Chicago. He wants to get going and make a difference, but Heaps, who admitted Davies is in good physical condition, says the team is taking Davies’ situation day-by-day at this point and will make a decision on whether the former D.C. United forward will see action on Saturday.
REVS TAKING JUAN AGUDELO INJURY DAY-TO-DAY
Juan Agudelo hasn’t featured for the Revolution since picking up a knee injury in the team’s U.S. Open Cup match against D.C. United on June 26, but the forward said he feels ready to play this week if the medical staff gives him the go-ahead and if Heaps calls on him.
“The knee is good, feels great this week. felt good last week,” said Agudelo on Wednesday. “But it was kind of precaution not to do anything (last weekend when the Revolution played Sporting Kansas City). Hopefully I will be integrated into the game this weekend, but we’ll see.”
Heaps says the team is taking Agudelo’s injury day-to-day and watching to see how the knee reacts to training and see how the medical staff evaluates it.
TIME TO SHINE IN MLS AND GET READY FOR STOKE CITY
Stoke City announced last week that Agudelo has signed a pre-contract agreement to join the club when his contract with Major League Soccer expires on Dec. 31, and, according to Heaps, there will be no coddling of Agudelo in the run-up to his move to the English Premier League. Instead, Heaps hopes the 20-year-old forward will use this chance in MLS to show the Potters what he can do and show the club’s manager, Mark Hughes, that he’s ready to jump right into the first team when the move happens.
“[Agudelo] has a commitment to Stoke in January,” said Heaps. “For where we’re at, we’ve talked about it a little bit. Juan is a soccer player and he wants to get out here and play. He’s a competitor, and, so for me, and talking with the people at Stoke and the people around Juan, this is basically what they’re looking at. This is his platform.
“They obviously look at MLS. They have four guys that have at some point started in Major League Soccer with the addition of Juan, and to me this is a great opportunity for him to separate himself,” continued Heaps. “They’re adding strikers left and right, so let Juan stay in-form and then when he joins them in January he can get some real action.
“I think this will be a great opportunity or him to hit stride with us and go in there fully fit.”
- New England is currently seventh in the Eastern Conference with 30 points from 23 games and Chicago is sixth with 31 points from 22 games. Both teams are chasing the Houston Dynamo, who have 33 points from 22 games, for the fifth and final spot in the playoffs.
- The Revs beat the Fire twice at Gillette Stadium last year and won the season series, 2-1.
- New England beat Chicago, 1-0, on March 9 this year.
- Chicago midfielder/forward Mike Magee is tied for the league lead in game-winning goals with five. Revolution forward Diego Fagundez is tied for second with four game-winners.
- Dimitry Imbongo and Andy Dorman are both suspended for the Revolution after getting red cards in last week’s loss to Sporting Kansas City.
Do you see the Revolution toppling the Fire at home this weekend? Expecting Davies to make his New England debut vs. Chicago? Think Agudelo will be made available for Saturday’s match?
Share your thoughts below.