Whitecaps FC-Revolution Preview
For the second straight season, the New England Revolution are struggling to find offense early on.
At least they had a win under their belt at this point last year.
In search of their first goal of 2014, the Revolution look to remain undefeated at home versus the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
New England (0-2-2) opened last season with a 1-0 victory at Chicago then was outscored 2-0 while going 0-2-2 before a 4-1 loss at New York on April 20.
The Revolution began this campaign with a 4-0 defeat at Houston and followed by losing 1-0 at Philadelphia last Saturday. New England joins Los Angeles and D.C. United as the only teams without a goal through the first two weeks of the season.
"We’re creating chances, we just can’t finish," midfielder Diego Fagundez, who has three of the team’s five shots on goal this year, told the Revolution’s official website. "I’ve always said that the first one is the hardest one to get, and for us it is."
New England hopes the expected buzz from a familiar crowd in Saturday’s home opener will provide extra motivation to finally get on the scoreboard. The Revolution scored 17 goals while winning five of six and earning a draw over their final seven home matches last season.
"We just can’t get that first one in, but once we do then more will come," said Fagundez, who had a team-leading 13 goals last season.
"It was two away games, so that was tough," he added. "Now we’re coming home for our opener and I think more energy is going to come out of the guys."
The Revolution also could receive a boost if midfielder Kelyn Rowe returns after he missed last weekend’s match with a hamstring injury. The 22-year-old was second on the team in 2013 with eight league goals in his second MLS season.
New England has outscored Vancouver (1-0-1) 5-1 during the teams’ only two meetings in Foxborough, but the Whitecaps won 4-3 at home in the lone matchup last season. Fagundez assisted on a goal from Rowe in that match.
Vancouver avoided defeat when Kekuta Manneh scored in the 81st minute of a 1-1 draw at Chivas USA on Sunday.
Amid an 8-1-2 stretch against Eastern Conference opponents, Vancouver will be without 34-year-old captain Jay DeMerit for this match. DeMerit played the first two games this season, but is being rested as a precaution.
"It’s important I look after Jay," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson told the team’s official website. "He’s too valuable of a player to only play 10 or 15 games for me this season. We made a decision to leave him behind to rest and recover in preparation for (Houston) next week."
Vancouver’s Kenny Miller, who scored twice in a season-opening 4-1 win over New York, had two goals against the Revolution last season.