Everything is falling into the New England Revolution’s hands this weekend when they travel to face NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. Although it’s anything but an ideal stadium to play soccer in, the Revolution must come home with three points as NYCFC will be missing multiple starters due to injuries and the international break.
NYCFC aren’t just missing any starters, they’re missing key players. They’ll be without starting central defenders, Alex Callens and James Sands, through international duty and injury respectively. If missing your three most important players in keeping the ball of your net wasn’t enough, they’ll also be missing their leading goal scorer, Héber, through a thigh injury.
The Brazilian number-nine currently has 14 goals in 17 starts (20 games played) and if you need any more convincing of how much a miss he’ll be, wait until you see NYCFC’s record with and without Héber. When Héber starts, NYCFC is 12-2-3 and when he doesn’t, they’re 2-3-5. Regardless of who’s available to play and who isn’t, NYCFC is still a strong squad that’s competing for the top spot in the eastern conference. Securing first place would mean they wouldn’t have to play Atlanta United on the road in the playoffs, and not even Los Angeles FC would feel confident at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
On paper, the Revolution are looking likely to improve on their road form this season by adding another win, especially as the club is motivated to secure a home playoff game. Gustavo Bou will fancy himself against NYCFC’s back-line with the Argentine on good form with four goals in the past four games. If it wasn’t for Bou’s heroics with game-winning and tying goals in the past three games, the Revolution could be in a much worse scenario but the depleted NYCFC side presents an opportunity to get back to winning ways.
The Revolution’s play on the field has been lacking in recent games, but what’s encouraging is that the club has still picked up results, which is generally a sign of a good team. After narrowly tying Toronto FC thanks to a Quentin Westberg howler, the team knows they were lucky to come away with a point. Hopefully this serves as a wake-up call that even though they’re in contention to placing as high as fourth place in the eastern conference, their playoff spot is anything but confirmed.
Yankee Stadium will also feel a little more like home as several hundred traveling fans will be in attendance. It’s up to the Revolution to make the trip worth it to the traveling fort by beating a weakened NYCFC team, confirming sole possession of fifth place in the eastern conference over the Red Bulls by one point.
Note: This article originally read that Sean Johnson will miss this weekend’s game. Since publication, Doug McIntyre has reported that Johnson will leave USMNT camp after Friday’s game, which will allow him to play against the Revs. This article has been edited to reflect the news.