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Revolution vs. Red Bulls: Three questions to consider in week 19

Can the Revs stay hot in midweek matches? That, and all the other talking points you need to know.

MLS: New England Revolution at New York Red Bulls Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

Neither the Revolution nor the Red Bulls have fared well in recent league matches. On Sunday, the Revs endured a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of CJ Sapong and the Philadelphia Union; the Red Bulls lost 2-0 to NYCFC on June 24. Tonight, both sides will look to avenge those losses with a win at Gillette Stadium.

Here are three questions to consider ahead of the week 19 matchup:

1. Can the Revs stay unbeaten in midweek matches?

So far this season, the Revolution have made the most of playing on short rest. In four midweek matchups, the club has gone 2-0-2, winning a pair of U.S. Open Cup matches while earning two draws—one against NYCFC, another against the San Jose Earthquakes—in league play.

To keep pace, the Revs will need to shut down a Red Bulls side that has scored just 17 goals this season, second fewest in MLS. A win for the Revs would snap a three-match losing streak away from the Open Cup.

2. Will the home team continue to dominate the series?

The Revolution and Red Bulls have endured a long-standing rivalry. And over the past two decades, the team that plays at home has ruled that rivalry. So historically, matches at Gillette Stadium have favored the Revolution, who own a 21-5-7 all-time record at home against the Red Bulls (by contrast, the Bulls have gone 20-8-8 all-time against the Revs at home).

Earlier this year, that trend continued when New York earned a 2-1, come-from-behind win at Red Bull Arena. Can the Revs stay dominate at home, just as the Red Bulls have?

3. Will the return of Delamea, Fagundez help the Revs get back on track?

On Sunday, Revolution center backs Benjamin Angoua and Josh Smith looked unfamiliar with one another. That’s because the two defenders have typically played beside Antonio Delamea, who missed his first match of the season last weekend while recovering from a fractured nose. Delamea is expected to return this evening, and his presence—regardless of who starts beside him—will be welcomed by Jay Heaps. The Slovenian center back brings a level of poise and bite that that cannot be replaced by another Revolution defender.

The Revs also went into Sunday’s match without Diego Fagundez, which left Lee Nguyen as the only natural creator in the Starting XI. But Heaps started Nguyen out wide, which limited the midfielder’s ability to sit behind the ball and jumpstart the attack. The return of Fagundez should move Nguyen back into the playmaker role while also adding another creative presence to the midfield.

The Revolution hope these two starters will give life to a team that looked lifeless four days ago.