The Revolution have playoff aspirations. The Fire, officially eliminated from the playoffs two weeks ago, have spent much of the 2016 season near the bottom of the Eastern Conference table.
Even though these situations differ, the Revs understand the importance of Sunday’s match at Toyota Park. They desperately need a win—and the Fire have a chance to play spoiler.
“My first year [in New England], we were mathematically out and we played spoiler to a good amount of [teams],” Kelyn Rowe said to reporters this week. “For us, they’re fighting for pride and that’s one of the hardest things to play against. We’ve got to go in and play our game and show that we are a playoff team.”
In this quest to stay alive in the playoff hunt, the Revs will likely benefit from the return of defensive midfielder Gershon Koffie and center back Jose Goncalves, both of whom returned to practice this week after missing time due to injury. Their presence will be needed against a high-flying Chicago attack, which Revs’ gaffer Jay Heaps recently described as “extremely dangerous.”
To stall this attack, the Revs will need to stick with pacey winger David Accam, who has scored 18 goals since joining the Fire a season ago. Revs’ right back Andrew Farrell is familiar with the challenge.
“If [Accam] gets in behind, it’s hard to get back on him,” Farrell said. “It’s a lot of guys that have to get on their fast shoes and try to contain him.”
Even with the threat Accam poses, Farrell remains confident ahead of this weekend’s showdown.
“We’re excited for how we’ve been playing...Going against a team like Chicago this Sunday should be fun and should be a good challenge for us.”
In three previous meetings with Chicago this reason, the Revs overcame this challenge, winning all three matches by a combined score of 6-1. But none of that matters now, according to Farrell.
“We played them in the Open Cup and [the regular season], but [this is a] different situation,” he said. “They’re out of [the playoffs], but they want to be working next year and we want to be in the playoffs [this year], so big three points on the line for us this weekend.”
Rowe believes a locked-in Revolution side will overcome this challenge once more.
“If we focus on ourselves and play our game, we’re going to get three points.”
The Revolution and Fire kick off at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.