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Revs trek to Bay Area, face Quakes in final match before start of World Cup

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New England is unbeaten in five straight vs San Jose.

MLS: New England Revolution at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After enduring a painful, last-place finish in 2011, the New England Revolution brought long-time, hometown defender Jay Heaps from the TV booth to the coaching box for the 2012 season. His first-ever match as gaffer, on the road vs San Jose in week one, seemed manageable on paper, as the Quakes ended 2011 with just 8 wins and a 7th place conference standing. Nevertheless, the Revs fell short that March evening at Buck Shaw Stadium, losing 1-0 on an early first-half goal by then-US international Chris Wondolowski. It turns out, though, that New England’s performance that day actually showed well in the end, as San Jose went on to win 19 matches and the Supporters Shield that season. For their part, the Revs used Heaps’ first year as a catalyst for the three consecutive playoff years that would follow. The 1-0 defeat also represents New England’s last loss to the Bay Area club, as they’re unbeaten in five straight since that March 2012 match.

San Jose Earthquakes

Record: 2-9-3, 9 pts, -7

Standing: 11th in Western Conference (13 points below red line)

Current Form: L-L-L-L-D

Coming off an unexpected playoff year in 2017, San Jose’s transition under first-year manager Mikael Stahre has been anything but smooth. The long-time Swedish first division gaffer opened his MLS career with a home victory, but his squad has secured full points only once since then.

Not that last year was impressive by any stretch, as San Jose clinched the last Western Conference playoff spot on the season’s final weekend with a rather weak resume. The Quakes owned just a 13-14-7 record and an unflattering -21 goal differential. In fact, their 39 goals were the fewest by a playoff team last year, and their 60 goals allowed were the most.

There hasn’t been much improvement under Stahre. San Jose has already allowed 29 goals this year, 2nd most in the West to Vancouver and third overall in MLS to Montreal’s 31. That puts them on pace for 70-71 goals allowed this season, which would easily surpass 2017’s mark. If there is a silver lining, it’s in the attack, as their 22 goals scored puts the Quakes on track for 53-54 goals in 2018, far more than 2017’s production.

The club has struggled mightily at home this season. After 2017’s solid 10-2-5 record at Avaya, San Jose has already doubled their number of home losses, standing only 1-4-1 in 2018. They actually own a slightly better record on the road — based on points — with a 1-5-2 mark away from home.

The Quakes are coming off a gut-wrenching 4-3 home loss to LAFC in which they held a 3-2 lead — thanks to a Wondo second-half brace — before conceding twice after the 89th minute. That makes them 0 for their last five league matches, and they’ve now lost six straight in all competitions after an early US Open Cup exit, something the Revs know about all too well.

Stahre has primarily used a two-forward formation with Wondo and former Ajax striker Danny Hoesen up top. The former US international has four goals and three assists after a 13-goal/8-assist effort in 2017. His recent brace has brought him within seven goals of tying Landon Donovan’s MLS scoring record, a pursuit which will probably continue into next season. The Dutchman has followed up his 5-goal/5-assist 2017 campaign with a team-leading seven goals to go along with four assists.

Former Swedish first-division scoring leader Magnus Eriksson was brought in to add creativity to the Quake attack, and he’s done just that. Operating throughout the midfield — more recently playing deeper centrally — he’s scored three goals and assisted on three others. Georgian international Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili has added three goals and four assists from his attacking midfield role, while German Florian Jungwirth — a converted centerback who’s been moved to holding mid — has provided two goals and two assists.

Starting defensive midfielder Anibal Godoy has assisted on a goal this season, but he’s with Panama at the World Cup and will miss the Revs’ match. Second-year UCLA product Jackson Yueill works the right midfield and has offered two assists. Depth pieces include Jahmir Hyka (one goal), Quincy Amarikwa (one assist), and Fatai Alashe.

Stahre’s backline — normally consisting of four defenders — is led by Homegrown Nick Lima at right back, who’s scored a goal this year. Now in his ninth season with San Jose, Shea Salinas has left back locked down, although a hamstring injury may keep him off the matchday roster again. Uruguayan loanee Yeferson Quintana has held down a centerback spot for much of the season, scoring a goal, but his opposite number Harold Cummings has joined Godoy and Panama at the World Cup. Former University of Louisville standout Jimmy Ockford has handled centerback duties for Cummings since his departure.

Third-year goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell has started all fourteen matches for San Jose, but he’s only saved 55% of the shots he’s faced, and he hasn’t posted a shutout yet. Conversely, in just eleven matches last season, the 2016 eighth-overall MLS SuperDraft pick had two shutouts and a 61% save rate.

New England Revolution

Record: 6-4-5, 23 pts, +4

Standing: 5th in Eastern Conference (5 points above red line)

Current Form: D-W-D-D-L

New England rebounded from their midweek US Open Cup loss with a 1-1 draw at Chicago. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Alexsandar Katai combined for a second-half goal in transition after the Fire beat the Revs’ pressure. New England scored the equalizer on a goalkeeper miscue. Chicago netminder Richard Sanchez spilled the ball in the box, allowing Diego Fagundez to collect it and find Teal Bunbury for an easy tap-in. The Revs high-pressure paid dividends with several chances created, but the visitors were unable to finish.

Centerback Antonio Delamea suffered a first-half head injury in a collision with Fire striker Nemanja Nikolic, but he was cleared to continue and should be good to go against the Earthquakes. However, fellow backline mate and team captain Claude Dielna — who’s played left back the past few matches due to Chris Tierney’s season-ending injury and Gabriel Somi’s underperformance — has been suspended for this match due to yellow-card accumulation.

Analysis

This is the final match of a three-in-nine and six-in-nineteen stretch for the Revs, who are about to enter a 17-day, World Cup break. Therefore, it should be an all-hands-on-deck lineup and roster for Brad Friedel as New England seeks their second road win of the season. One has to expect Friedel and the Revs will come out guns-a-blazing against one of the league’s worst defenses, seeking to get a goal or two early in the match.

San Jose likewise has a break in its season due to the World Cup, albeit just 10 days, so they should be at full capacity for this match. It’ll be interesting to see how the Quakes respond after their gut-punch of a loss at home last weekend. If they fall behind early, will they have the mental fortitude to fight back?

Match Facts

This is the 42nd all-time regular season meeting between these inter-conference clubs. San Jose leads the series with a 20-14-7 record, and they hold a 10-6-4 edge at home. The last two meetings — 2017 at Gillette and 2016 at Avaya Stadium — ended as scoreless draws.

New England hasn’t lost to San Jose since 2012, a five-match unbeaten streak. Their last loss was a 1-0 defeat at Buck Shaw Stadium. That loss was also the last game of a five-match winless streak vs San Jose dating back to 2010 when the clubs met twice each year.

The Quakes are only 1-4-1 at home this season, with the win coming on opening day against Minnesota United. San Jose has lost three in a row at Avaya and is winless in five straight at home since week one. The Quakes have also been outscored 14-10 on their home pitch.

The Revolution are 1-2-3 away from Gillette Stadium and are winless in their last four on the road. New England has been outscored 12-10 in those matches.

New England has just one win in their past five matches, but they are on a four-match unbeaten run. The Quakes haven’t won in their last five league matches, and they’ve lost six straight in all competitions.

Of the Revolution’s 25 goals this season, five have been scored just before halftime, while another seven have occurred in the final fifteen minutes of the match. New England has allowed four goals after the 75th minute.

Of San Jose’s 22 goals on the season, five have been scored after the 75th minute. However, they’ve also allowed seven opposition goals in the final fifteen minutes. The Quakes have scored three goals just before halftime, but they’ve also given up three scores right after the break.

The Revolution are undefeated when scoring first at 5-0-2. Conversely, San Jose is just 2-2-2 after scoring the opening goal.

New England is 1-4-3 in matches in which they’ve conceded first, but the Earthquakes are winless with a 0-7-1 record.

San Jose is also winless vs Eastern Conference teams at 0-5-1. New England has a 3-1-1 mark against Western clubs.

This is the only meeting of the year between these cross-conference clubs. Next year’s match will be at Gillette Stadium.

How to Watch

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 13
Venue: Avaya Stadium, San Jose, California
TV: NBC Sports Boston (Boston); NBC Sports Bay Area (San Jose)
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub (Boston); KNBR 1050 (San Jose)
Streaming: MLS Live (now on ESPN+)