Columbus hold a 26-16-9 edge in the series, including a 12-10-3 advantage in Foxborough.
7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-New England, ONN (local); Direct Kick, MatchDay Live
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
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)
OUT: MF Robbie Rogers (L knee surgery); MF Danny O'Rourke (back spasms); DOUBTFUL: DF Gino Padula (L ankle sprain)